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