Quantum Blog

16 Jan

Data Mining Your Emotional Self: Do You Know What Consistently Makes You Happy?

Journalist Katherine Ellen Foley got some good advice in a business entrepreneurship class in graduate school: “Whenever you feel sad or upset or uncomfortable, lean into that feeling, and try to figure out what’s making you react that way.”

Essentially, that bit of advice is a bit of psychoanalysis – an encouragement to investigate the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in her mind to bring forth repressed thoughts or feelings.

Then she saw a jar full of folded pieces of paper at a friend’s house. Her friend’s roommate was writing down one thing every day that made her happy and putting it in the jar – something like selective journaling, which psychologists say helps manage anxiety and depression.

What Foley did was take these two practices – analytically unpacking sadness and selective journaling – and flipped the first on its head and did the second obsessively.

  • Instead of noticing when she was sad and trying to figure out what was making her feel that way, she decided to take note of exactly what she was doing, where she was, who she was with, etc. when she was happy.
  • Instead of simply jotting down a cute thought every day and sticking it in a jar, she would do it obsessively, generating “a specific set of data” that she could mine for patterns and slowly, but surely, navigate toward a happier life.

The key words here are “surely” and “navigate.”

Surely Navigating Toward Success Means Having a Process

While many of us think we know what makes us happy, few of us have any objective evidence to support our assumptions. How surely can you navigate toward a more happy life and more joy if you don’t know exactly what makes you happy in the first place?

With concrete sets of data – like the 46 situations in 2016 that Foley logged herself as “blissfully happy” – what would otherwise seem serendipitous, random or simply good luck can be understood and repeated.

What Makes Some Salespeople Top Performers, While Others Lag Behind?

We found this story incredibly interesting because it rhymes with what we do here at Quantum Learning. We do what Foley did, albeit on a much more intensive level, for sales success in the pharmaceutical industry.

We perform observational, long-term, data-intensive, behavioral research to figure out what makes some salespeople consistent top performers and what makes other salespeople lag behind. We’ve even measured the number of steps top performers versus middle performers take on visits to a doctor’s office. We’re about demystifying that “salesperson charm,” bringing entire sales teams up a notch, and creating real, repeatable results that move the needle and rock the market.