In The Happiness Track, Emma Seppala, the science director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, explains that our inability to achieve sustainable fulfillment is tied to common but outdated notions about success. We are taught that getting ahead means doing everything that's thrown at us (and then some) with razor-sharp focus and iron discipline; that success depends on our drive and talents.
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Too many companies bet on having a cut-throat, high-pressure, take-no-prisoners culture to drive their financial success. But a large and growing body of research on positive organizational psychology demonstrates that not only is a cut-throat environment harmful to productivity over time, but that a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.
Normally, when we think about being tired, we think of physical reasons: lack of sleep, intense exercise, or long days of physical labor. And yet, as Elliot Berkman, professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, pointed out to me in an interview, in our day and age, when few of us have physically demanding jobs, we are wiping ourselves out through psychological factors.
Recently the Communications Workers of America - the union that represents T-Mobile employees - contested a T-Mobile Employee Handbook clause on maintaining a positive work environment. The clause reads as follows: “[e]mployees are expected to maintain a positive work environment by communicating in a manner that is conducive to effective working relationships with internal and external customers, clients, co-workers, and management.”