In The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success, Emma Seppala, science director of Stanford’s Center for Compassionate Altruism Research in Education, challenges the idea that success requires stress.
In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton, Seppala identifies some success myths and talks about ways that calmness can improve productivity and performance.
An edited transcript of the conversation follows.
Knowledge@Wharton: You start The Happiness Track with a story about an internship that gave you a view into two very different ways of working and of viewing success. Please tell us about that experience and what you learned.
Emma Seppala: I worked for a major international newspaper out of Paris, France. My role was to communicate between the editors, who were on the second floor, and mostly American, and then the press people, who were in the basement and were mostly French, blue-collar workers. It was so interesting to notice the difference. Both groups were working toward the same goal of getting a newspaper out by the following morning. Yet, there were two very different approaches toward that goal. On the second floor, people sat hunched over their computers, eating over their keyboards, not talking to each other. It was a very tense atmosphere. It felt a little unhealthy, even, in terms of just the lack of communication and just the general mood you could feel.
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