The book draws on the latest and most practical research from business and psychology and identifies the three keys that influence most of our daily well-being, as well as our engagement at work:
- Meaning: doing something that benefits another person
- Interactions: creating far more positive than negative moments
- Energy: making choices that improve your mental and physical health
"This book will challenge you to stop pursing happiness and start creating meaning instead," explains Rath. And, by doing so, you will rethink your daily interactions with the people who matter most.
"The actions you take throughout every single day accumulate to shape your years, decades and overall life," adds Rath.
Even brief interactions count, says Rath, such as exchanging a smile or greeting while passing someone on the street. Those moments/interactions give your days a positive or negative charge. And, if you look at moments as three-second windows, there are 1,200 moments per hour and 19,200 in a day. That equates to roughly 500 million moments over a lifetime.
We need at least three to five positive interactions to outweigh every one negative exchange, adds Roth.
- Leadership Tip: So, the next time you are doing an employee or team performance review, Rath suggests you spend 80 percent of the time (or the vast majority) talking about what is working. Then, use the remaining time to address deficits. In most workplaces the opposite is happening today. Managers are routinely spending 80 percent of their time talking about weaknesses during reviews.
- Meaningful Work: According to Rath, meaningful work is driven by intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, motivation. Extrinsic motivation is a nice way of describing when you do things primarily to receive a reward. In contrast explains Roth, intrinsic motivation - or deep internal motivation - is much richer. It stems from the meaningfulness of the work you do. You are driven by what you yearn to do even if there is no reward or compensation.
"The more you focus your efforts on others, the easier it is to do great work without being dependent on external rewards like money, power, or fame," says Rath.
You also create meaning when your strengths and interests meet the needs of the organization you serve. And, according to Gallup research that Rath cites in his book, when you use your strengths, you can double your number of high-quality work hours per week from 20 to 40.
- Helping Others Tip: "You are much better at helping yourself if you are also helping another person with a similar problem," says Rath.
Rath has written five New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers over the past decade, starting with, How Full Is Your Bucket?