Oftentimes, it’s easier to view the glass as half empty.
For a professional athlete, one small misstep, a missed kick or a wobble on the landing can undo an entire performance in their mind – even if the rest of their game was flawless. Likewise, for a business professional, things don’t always go to plan. And for many, the tendency can be to dwell on negatives rather than celebrate the small wins along the way.
Whether it’s a natural aversion to perceived arrogance or modern-day pressures to achieve perfection – or simply our chemical makeup – we’ve likely all experienced it: The replays in our head reminding us how we could’ve, and should’ve, done better…
But while there is merit in pushing oneself to achieve the outcome – in viewing regrettable moments as learning curves, and opportunities for improvement and growth – there is little to be gained from punishing oneself. In fact, self-doubt and low self-esteem can lead to increased procrastination, reduced creativity and kill personal growth.
On the contrary, a Harvard Business Review study on how everyday life within organisations can influence an individual’s performance found that capturing small wins provided a noticeable boost in self-confidence and motivation, which could be put to use toward future successes. They refer to this as the ‘Progress Principle’.
“Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work,” the study found. “And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run.”
“Whether they are trying to solve a major scientific mystery or simply produce a high-quality product or service, everyday progress – even a small win – can make all the difference in how they feel and perform.”
And the science behind it is pretty simple: Feelings of accomplishment – of wins, big or small – activate our brains’ reward system. Dopamine (the neurochemical commonly referred to as the ‘happy hormone’) is released, filling us with a sense of pride and achievement. This feeling is addictive and thus energises and motivates us to achieve more.
These small wins can start from the moment you wake up, and every little bit counts. Simple accomplishments like getting out of bed when your alarm goes off, making your bed before you leave, getting to work on time and ticking tasks off your to-do list can all contribute to a happier, healthier and more productive mindset. Continuing this within the workplace with a positive mindset, gratefulness and conscious recognition of our own accomplishments is crucial to reducing anxiety and improving both job satisfaction and overall mental health.
In today’s Fulfilment Friday, Ultimate Edge Communications will be taking the time to focus on our wins; both as individuals and as a team. We’ll be clearing our minds of negative self-talk and celebrating our successes over some teas proven to increase happiness and joy.
Can you think of three small things that you’re grateful for today?