WellBeing; The Five Essential Elements; summary and notes

Title:  Well Being; The Five Essential Elements.  Authors: Tom Rath and Jim Hartner.  Tom Rath is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Strenthsfinder 2.0.  Strengthsfinder was listed by USA Today as the best business book in 2008.  Mr. Rath partnered with Jim Hartner who is the Chief Scientist for Gallup’s international workplace management and wellbeing practices.

Just like in the book Strengthsfinder, link here for this book: http://www.amazon.com/StrengthsFinder-2-0-Tom-Rath/dp/159562015X/     Mr Rath and Mr. Hartner created an assessment for the readers of the book to take as well.  This assessment creates a profile based on where you think you are in each of the five essential elements of wellbeing.

The Gallup Wellbeing Finder was developed based on foundation of world research and a history of studying wellbeing.  The tool they created in this book is their best attempt to summarize what makes most people’s lives and days fulfilling.  The Wellbeing finder is designed to create an awareness of measurable and actionable issues.

The Five Essentials of Wellbeing: 

Career Wellbeing: People who weigh high in Career Wellbeing wake up every morning with something to look forward to.  They also have an opportunity to do things that fit their strengths and interests.  They have a deep purpose in life and a plan to attain their goals.  In most cases, they have a leader who motivates them and makes them enthusiastic about the future and friends who share their passion.  While you might think that people with high Career Wellbeing spend too much time working at the expense of their relationships, our results suggest that they actually take more time to enjoy life and don’t takes things for granted. This results in them loving the work they do everyday.

  • Career wellbeing is arguably the most essential of the five elements.
  • People with high Career Wellbeing are more than twice as likely to be thriving in their lives overall.
  • Boosting your Career Wellbeing might be one of the most important priorities to consider for maintaining good health over the years.

Social Wellbeing:  We often underestimate the impact of our closest relationships and social connections on our wellbeing.  However, our wellbeing is dramatically influenced by the people around as well as our friends’ independent network of relationships.  Some of these friendships help us to achieve, while others motivate us to be healthy. Social Wellbeing is about having strong relationships and love in your life.

People with high social Wellbeing have several close relationships that help them achieve, enjoy life, and be healthy.  They are surrounded by people who encourage their development and growth, accept them for who they are, and treat them with respect.  They deliberately spend time investing in the networks that surround them.

People with high Social Wellbeing are more likely to make time for vacations and social gatherings with their friends and family and this strengthens their relationships.  They report having a great deal of love in their lives, and this give them positive energy on a daily basis.

  • Our research showed that just 30% of employees have a best friend at work. Those who do are seven more times as likely to be engaged in their jobs, are better at engaging customers, produce a higher quality of work, have a higher wellbeing, and are less likely to get injured on the job.  In contrast, those who do not have  a best friend at work have just a 1 in 12 times chance of being engaged.
  • The single best predictor is not what people are doing, but who they are with.

Financial Wellbeing:  Money may not buy happiness, but it is hard to be happy if you cannot meet your basic needs.  Beyond that, the actual amount of money you have has less of an impact on your overall wellbeing than financial security and how you manage and spend your money.  Financial Wellbeing is about effectively managing your economic life.

People with high Financial Wellbeing manage their personal finances well and spend their money wisely.  They buy experiences instead of just material possessions, and they give to others instead of always spending on themselves. At a basic level, they are satisfied with their overall standard of living.

Their successful strategies result in financial security, which eliminates daily stress and worry caused by debt.  This financial security allows them to do what they want to do when they want to do it.  They have the freedom to spend more time with the people they like to be around.

  • Harvard researchers found that spending money on yourself does not increase your happiness, but spending money on someone else does.
  • Income, debt, and net worth are the most common used metrics to measure the health of a person finances.

Physical Wellbeing: The short-term choices we make can have a long-term effect on our overall physical health.  When we adopt healthy habits and make smart lifestyle choices about diet, exercise, and sleep, we feel better, and have more energy, look better, and live longer.  Physical Wellbeing is about having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis.

People with a high Physical Wellbeing manage their health well.  They exercise regularly, and as a result, they feel better.  They make good dietary choices, which keeps their energy high throughout the day and sharpens their thinking.  They get enough sleep to process what they ave learned the day before and to get a good start on the next day.

Because of their healthy lifestyle, they are usually able to do all the things people their age would normally do.  When they wake up well rested each day, they look better, feel better, and have more energy.

  • One study found that men who have a specific gene that predisposes them to prostate cancer were able to suppress the expression of this gene substantially by eating the equivalent of just one broccoli portion a week.  To a certain degree, we can control the amplification and suppression of how our genes affect our health over time.
  • People who exercise at least two times a week are happier and have significantly less stress.
  • The Mayo Clinic stated that a “lack of energy” results from inactivity.
  • A comprehensive analysis of more than 70 trials found that exercising is much more effective at eliminating fatigue than prescription drugs used for the same purpose.
  • Each night of sleep allows our brain to process what we learned the day before. As a result, we are more likely to remember what we learned if we get a sound nights sleep.
  • So while we have known all along that a goods night sleep helps the next day, it is just as important for encoding information we learned the day before.
  • 75% of medical costs are due to legally preventable conditions (stress, tobacco use, physical inactivity, and poor food choices.

Community Wellbeing:  At a basic level, we need to feel safe where we live and secure about the quality of the water we drink and the air we breathe. We also need to have a house that meets our needs and a community we can take pride in.  When we get involved in our community and give back to society, it benefits us as well as the recipients of our entire community.  This well-doing promotes deeper social interaction, enhanced meaning and purpose, and a more active lifestyle.  Community Wellbeing is about the sense of engagement you have with the area you live.

People with high Community Wellbeing feel safe and secure where they live.  They take pride in their community and feel it’s headed in the right direction.  This often results in their wanting to give back and make a lasting contribution to society.  These people have identified the areas where they can contribute based on their own strengths and passions, and they tell other about these interests to connect with the right groups and causes.

Their contributions to the community may start small, but over time, they lead to more involvement and have profound impact on the community in which they live.  These efforts are what create communities we cannot imagine living without.  The positive outcomes of high Community Wellbeing may be what differentiates a good life from a great one.

  • More than 23,000 people surveyed said that they get an emotional boost for doing kind things for other people.
  • Experimental research suggest that creating sustainable change may be two or three times as likely to happen in the context of a group, company, or community organization.
  • For example a weight loss program:  If you do it alone.  There is a 24% chance you will maintain your weight loss after 10 months.  If you join a group with three strangers, there is a 50% chance you will maintain the weight loss after 10 months.  If you enroll with three friends or colleagues the odds of you maintaining the weight loss after 10 months is 66%.

Which of the five elements is most important?

  • The five elements of this book are arranged in order by importance (they are in this blog post as well)  This order was the average of the people surveyed. This means that, on average Career Wellbeing has slightly more influence than Physical Wellbeing or Community Wellbeing.  Yet every one of the five elements is a robust predictor of various life outcomes. You decide which is more important to you.

Book Link: http://www.amazon.com/Wellbeing-Essential-Elements-Tom-Rath/dp/1595620400/

To your success and your future.



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