The Happy Gene – Happiness Can Be A Prelude Toward Success

Anybody here enjoy people watching? I sure do.  To see how people act, react, behave, and treat others so interesting! I know there are plenty of people who chalk this up to fluff. However, as a practitioner and social scientist, I also know there is far more power in all of this… than what many people might ever guess.

When it comes right down to it, it can become the deciding factor. A colleague of mine just let me know, as early as last week, that one of their sub-contractors was pulled from a major contract because…. of his attitude.

But back to positivity. The great thing is that just like negativity, positivity can be strengthened. Our brains are wired so wonderfully. It’s like a snowball effect – positivity actually expands possibilities we process. In essence, it broadens our abilities; we’re actually primed to possess a wider array of actionable factors, such as innovation, creativity, and productivity.

The neuroanatomy of leadership involves a wide array of pathways – pathways that we’re already primed and seasoned for. We just need to act on them! While it’s not uncommon to hear people say that they’ll be happier when they reach a level of success, we actually position ourselves for success when we’re happy … first.

We can position ourselves to act on the scientific advantage we all possess – the ability to train or retrain our minds to capitalize on positivity. Read more by clicking here. Ever notice, out of all of our employees, which ones tend to be most happy? Do you see any correlation between their overarching disposition and individual success? According to Achor, as cited by Bowen (2015), happy people tend to be:

  • 31% more productive
  • 40% more likely to receive a promotion
  • 39% more likely to live to the ripe ole age of 94

The Neuroanatomy Behind This

Our brains are releasing dopamine when we’re happy. The cool part is that our brain is busy taking notes. It’s doing the work for us. In turn, we can and will actually rewire our brains to adapt to this positive pattern.

Why do I advocate taking notes with my clients? Because rereading those notes, re-triggers those positive dopamine patterns to strengthen the outcome. It speeds up the process. The momentum – the way our brain is rewiring for positivity – is greatly increased. Just as a heads-up, Shawn speaks pretty quickly. It’s good stuff though

It directly impacts our bottom line.

PS for any fellow people watchers, what have you noticed as a foundational difference between happy people versus not-so-happy ones?

Smiling: The Easiest Tool Leaders Can Use to Boost … Anything

I realize some cultures consider smiling a sign of weakness. In the utmost respect, I’m focusing on the western cultures when reflecting on the impact a smile has. As leaders, every move we make is noticed. We are being modeled. How we ‘show up’ matters more than most people could ever imagine.

It’s amazing to consider how we are perceived by others when we’re focused or our mind is on a really important board meeting. What’s going on in the inside is written all over our face. On the flip side, we all know how contagious smiling is. So it’s a really easy way to spark some positive vibes in the workplace.

You know the adage, ‘fake it until you make it’? It’s true. As a matter of fact, I advocate for this (in some situations). Smiling is one of them. Why? Well because when we force ourselves to smile, it tricks our mind into thinking we want to be happy. It doesn’t realize the muscles in our face have positioned themselves for a smile in a genuine way or not. So then neurotransmitters in our brain are ready for bear: they release those endorphins and guess what? When those endorphins are released, we relax a bit and we become happier.

Cortisol is barred. Those are those chemicals our bodies release when we’re stressed.

When we flash a fake smile at someone, they tend to reciprocate. When they smile, it’s human nature to offer one back. That’s when the magic happens. The likelihood of a natural smile emerging is pretty strong.

Plus, there are some major benefits. We can connect the dots and send this right to our revenues when you think about it. A really easy test to conduct is calculating the amount a waiter gets at the end of his shift: smiling more often versus not. Hands down. That’s an easy one

So, the figures cumulate.

As this becomes a habit, our brain is taking notes. The pattern that is created actually starts to rewire our brain. Those positive patterns negate the negative ones.

Studies show that when we smile, we are perceived as being more considerate and ultimately, more likable. We appear more approachable and trustworthy. When we are viewed this way, it’s kind of nice. In turn, that makes us happier, too. It’s like a cyclical situation.

  • Boost your productivity
  • Enhance creativity
  • Invite innovation

PS. an added benefit is smiling makes us more attractive.


Dr. Jennifer Beaman
Dr. Jennifer Beaman
FOR over 25 years, Jennifer has served as an executive consultant helping organizational leaders streamline processes and strategies by enhancing skills and practices. Serving as a strategic consultant to industry-wide businesses throughout California, she soon recognized the unparalleled value of human capital. In turn, she introduced leadership and executive development services, thereby providing a more holistic opportunity for clients. Cornerstone to helping leaders recognize the power of their actions and behavior, she weaves the art of emotional intelligence into all interactions, thereby promoting thorough value to the entirety of organizational systems. Joining ranks as a business owner in 2004, she partnered in a California-based sign manufacturing business. This business served a variety of clients, primarily larger corporations, franchises and Fortune 100-500s. In 2008, she participated in partnership in southern California specializing in project management and leadership development services. This corporation served clients ranging from Fortune 50-100s. The Association for Leadership Practitioners is a subsidiary of a parent company opened in 2010 and serves clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500s. Dr Beaman also serves as a partner at Chasing Limitless, Inc., providing strategic consulting and executive leadership development services to catapult organizational revenue and growth and primarily serves Fortune 500 companies. She holds a Doctorate in Management with a focus in Organizational Leadership; Master's degree in Organizational Management; and Bachelor's degree in Organizational Development. She is an active member is several professional affiliations and volunteers on a consistent basis helping entrepreneurs and doctoral students working toward publishing their dissertations.

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  1. There is nothing wrong with being happy all the time. The problem is that some will become very suspicious that you’re putting up an act. So there must be times when you show other emotions, such as sadness and anger. When you do this, it shows you’re human, that you’re sincere.

    How do I know this? Earlier in my career I’ve been criticized as being too happy by quite a few people. Today, I show a wide range of emotions. The only constant is that I showcase my passion. And that makes me and those I work with very happy.

    • Thank you for sharing Chris – this is a great addition, a genuine reality. We’re human, not happy machines – so it must be genuine.

      On that note, I’m so pleased that you shared your story because even when we’re sincerely happy, exuding passion carries an even stronger message. It opens the doors to expressing the foundation of who we are. That is a strong message.

      That is where our genuine being exists and when our colleagues know/sense that…. they know that it comes from the core.

      Plus, another added benefit is that it invites genuine relationships 🙂

    • Another interesting benefit to this is that as leaders — we can easily ‘identify’ those [employees] who don’t respond. After all, it’s a pretty contagious feeling :). We can use it as a tool – when someone isn’t responding or isn’t responsive, there is an underlying issue that needs tending to~

    • Thank you for your engagement Larry! 🙂 Yes, well said – we set the tone. It’s amazing to realize that we can ‘control’ such a simple set of behaviors – with some impressive results~