The growing field of positive psychology has brought with it a focus on gratitude; an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has (Psychology Today, 2014). While many of us have been busy journaling about the things we’re grateful for, researchers have also been busy scientifically examining if, and how, expressing gratitude benefits us. They’ve been tackling questions like Does noticing and identifying the things we’re grateful for contribute to our well-being? And, perhaps not surprisingly, it does.

Habits can hurt or help performance – here’s how to use them to your advantage.

John Dryden, a British poet, famously said “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” John Bargh and Tanya Chartrand, In their landmark paper The Unbearable Automaticity of Being, John Bargh and Tanya Chartrand argued that unconscious, automatic (i.e., habitual) thoughts and behaviors govern most of our lives, crowding out and overtaking willpower. Habits can work for us or against us. Just as we can find ourselves checking our favorite internet site at work before we realize we’ve typed in the web address, we all type effortlessly on a keyboard without having to think about which letter is where. One of the keys to peak performance is the active creation of the habits that benefit you, all while eliminating ones that do not.

As The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup descends upon our lives again after (for many) four long years; as managers, we need to embrace it. Instead of worrying that it will derail productivity, increase “sick” days and throw momentum out the window, we need to leverage all the positive psychological benefits the FIFA World Cup has to offer.

If you search Google for “co-workers” you’re likely to see articles like “The 10 co-workers you never want to work with,” “The 5 most annoying coworkers: how to deal with them,” or “10 types of co-workers no one would miss.” Search for images of co-workers, and you’ll be overwhelmed with memes, images and comics focused on incompetent, annoying co-workers.

How can a tiny change have world-class impact? In January of 2010, Dave Brailsford set out to change the face of top-tier cycling. He had just created Britain’s now-famous Team Sky, a national cycling team that competes in all the major world events and the Olympics. Brailsford had secured funding for the new team under a single, serious condition: they had to win the Tour de France in five years. No British cyclist had ever won before.

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