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   Thoughtscape: Thoughts and Tips from Mike Clayton


Issue 18

  Felicity Factor
Exploit the power of happiness
    News and views



Dear %1

In my New Year Thoughtscape newsletter, I led with "The Felicity Factor", saying:

"There is a mass of research that shows happy people to be healthier, less prone to illness, live longer and have... happier lives. So be happy and cheerful. Practice smiling more, make opportunities for laughter and see the bright side of life."

I want to focus on this for a whole newsletter. Happiness is very much in the news as a political priority. Even Alistair Campbell has got in on the agenda with a short eBook, "The Happy Depressive: In Pursuit of Personal and Political Happiness".

1. Happiness and Stress
Feeling happy and smiling a lot will reduce your stress levels.  This will make you feel more in control and will improve your general well-being, so make time for a laugh and smile during your day.  Smile.

2. Smiling and being Liked 
Smiling is one of the sure ways to be likeable - we like people who smile.  Smiles say confidence and also signal that we mean no harm.  In a research project, LeeAnn Harker and Dacher Keltner found that observers rated smiling women as having more attractive personalities, when they controlled for things like physical attractiveness.  Smile.

3. Being liked and getting what you want
Being liked is one of the most powerful ways of influencing other people: we do things for the people we like. That's why attractive, likeable celebrities are paid big money to make adverts. Smiling more and paying people attention are to simple ways to get what you want form them.  Smile.

4. Happiness and Life Outcomes
The same research by Harker and Keltner also found that the women who seemed genuinely to be smiling in college photos were more likely to have happy marriages and a greater sense of personal well being 30 years later.  Smile.

5. Happiness and Length of Life
Becca Levy at Yale showed that optimism can help you live longer.  More recently, Aoife O'Donovan at UC San Francisco has found a possible biological mechanism.  Increasingly, scientific evidence seems to be demonstrating a causal link between happiness and longetivity.  Smile.

6. Finding the Funny 
How can you find some funny in your daily life?  Here are seven ways:

  1. Films
  2. TV comedy - DVDs I bought recently include Faulty Towers, Outnumbered, Yes Minister, Father Ted
  3. Comedy clubs
  4. Radio shows
  5. Share jokes with friends - take care at work, though
  6. Cartoon strips - I like Calvin & Hobbes, Far Side and Dilbert
  7. You Tube etc - Try Evolution of Dance, or the Sneezing Panda.


7. More than one way to be Happy
For a more cerebral video clip, watch eminent psychologist Daniel Kahnemann talking at TED about the difference between being happy about your life and being happy in the moment.  Being happy about your life is based on the (surprisingly) selective emories we form.

8. The Peak State of Happiness 
Mihaly Csikszentmihaly introduced the concept of "Flow" as the peak stae for hapiness (in the moment).  When you can harnesss the three conditions for flow, you can turn the most mundane tasks into flow tasks and enjoy them.  You must:

  1. have a clear goal
  2. be able to assess progress continuously
  3. work at the limit of your capability

9. Fairness
In a lovely New Yorker cartoon, an executive says to his boss: "OK, if you can't see your way to giving me a pay raise, how about giving Parkerson a pay cut?".

This plays into our intuitive understanding of what John Stacy Adams described as Equity Theory.  We feel a sense of unfairness if we do not feel not rewarded equally, for equal work.  Fairness may not make you happy, but unfairness will certainly make you miserable. Be fair.


Learn More about Happiness

There is a wealth of well-written and researched books on the subject.  Take a look at some of them here.

The Best of 2011's
Management Pocketblogs

Each week I write a blog on a management-related topic of my choice, for Management Pocketbooks, who publish, among many other fine pocketbooks:

The Management Models Pocketbook


The Handling Resistance Pocketbook

Take a look back at:
my selection of the best blogs from 2011

or take a look at my first blog for 2012:
"Tuckman Plus, Part 2: Transforming"


Two Seminars you may like

The Three Hour MBA
Continues to get more enquiries
than any of my seminars

Brilliant Team Leadership
...is brand spanking new.
So new it's No.17 and not yet on my website

These are two of the 17 seminars* I am currently offering.  Here is the full list:

  • Three hour MBA

  • Seven Ways to get More from Your People

  • Seven Ways to get More from Yourself

  • Brilliant Influence:
    Ten Secrets of Persuasion

  • Brilliant Project Leader

  • Brilliant Team Leadership*

  • Brilliant Time Management

  • Faster, Better, Cheaper

  • How to Read People

  • It ain't the Stress that does the Damage

  • It won't work because...
    Handling Resistance to Change

  • More than just Survival:
    Thriving in Times of Change

  • Practical Decision Making

  • Practical Problem Solving

  • Practical Project Management

  • Risk Happens!
    Control Risk and Avoid Failure
    in Organisational Projects

  • The Seven Rules of Project Management

* Brilliant Team Leadership is not yet on the website

Learn more on my website.




Featured Books


Brilliant Project Leader
"I found this book packed with leadership tools and insight that have clearly been proven in the real world" Amazon review

Sold into most translations:

Brilliant Stress Management
... which has now sold into
Spanish (S American), French (N American), Polish and Chinese editions.

Best Seller:

Brilliant Time Management
One of Amazon UK's best selling Time Management (and also Project Management) books

All of my books are available from Amazon


Seminar Programme

Of all of my seminars, The Three-hour MBA was the big success in 2011.  I created it for the Bite Size open programme, and rolled it out in the autumn.  It's back in 2012.

There is a calendar on my website, with all of my open seminar dates. There are currently 30 dates in my diary. Coming soon are:

Brilliant Time Management (mornings), and
The Three-hour MBA  

  • 20 March, London,
  • 21 March, Guildford,
    Ramada Hotel
  • 22 March, Harpenden,
    Harpenden House Hotel

Practical Project Management
along with
Risk Happens! Control Risk and Avoid Failure in Organisational Projects (afternoons)

  • 21 June, London
  • 26 June, Manchester,
    Renaissance Hotel
  • 27 June, Birmingham,
    Copthorne Hotel
  • 28 June, Guildford,
    Ramada Hotel

Download a table of all of the scheduled dates here.  Book on 01227 252 100.

The Three-hour MBA, has been a great success as an open event, with some cracking feedback.  I am taking bookings for in-house seminars. 

“Packed in a significant portion of powerful management advice into such a short time frame. Many of the tools were familiar but linked in this way gave them added value to me.”
Chris Self, Millwood House Consultants Ltd

New Seminar

I am delighted to have been invited to speak at next week's Top Achievers quarterly day-long seminar, by MD Peter Haddon.  Peter asked me to focus on the day's theme of leadership and I was happy to take the opportunity to develop a new seminar for the Top Achievers group. 

I will be making Brilliant Team Leadership available as an in-house seminar from April.  Contact me for details if you're interested.



I am also busy delivering tried and tested seminars to  established clients.

  • Tomorrow, it's Brilliant Time Management
  • Friday, it's the Three Hour MBA
  • Next week, it's Handling Resistance to Change


Updates on the Two new books for 2012

I am working on two new books for publication in 2012.  Each is quite  a new departure for me.

The first, due to be published by Marshall Cavendish on 7 June, will be something rather special.  I certainly don't think there is any "equivalent" book on the market today.  The website will go live on 7 March and 3 mini-eBooks will be available pre-launch.

The second will be published around September by Pearson.  This is a step into a new area and a new style of writing for me, and I have started work and it's looking good.



My focus this year ...
... continues to be on writing, responding to press enquiries, and seminar and speaking engagements.  If you know a conference organiser who is looking for an engaging speaker with great testimonials, please do send them to my website: www.mikeclayton.co.uk.  If you need a speaker now, just contact me using the links below, or the contact form on my website.  You can download my speaker pack here.

Best regards


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Many thanks

    Please contact me ...
... mike@mikeclayton.co.uk
... Tel: 08444 141349
... www.mikeclayton.co.uk
... on Twitter @mikeclayton01

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© Mike Clayton, 2011