I have long pondered the relationship between happiness and success. I came across this TED talk by Shawn Achor and decided to write this post that was long outstanding.
Many people have believed, and possibly wrongly so, that in the pursuit of success, you will find happiness. “When I get that new job I will be happy.” or ” When I get that promotion I will be happy.” But in life, what we experience is only fleeting happiness when the do get the job or the promotion, or worst, what happens when we don’t get it.
If you didn’t know, Shawn wrote the book, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work. This was an excellent book about the relationship between success and happiness, or rather how happiness can lead to success.
What Shawn has aimed to show was that in leading a life filled with happiness, you will find that your life will also be filled with success. To me, I think it’s merely redefining happiness. What is the purpose of achieving success if it not so that we may be happy? Then, if we are already happy, does it not imply that we are successful? Think about that when you get a chance.
In the talk, Shawn states five things that you can do to start feeling happier if you do them for at least 21 days.
- Find 3 things to be happy about every day. This could be as simple as your child falling asleep on your shoulder, to owning your own home.
- Write in a journal every day. Focus on the positive aspects. If you have to mention negative, say how you will approach things better next time.
- Exercise. Exercise has been shown to raise dopamine levels and reduce stress, leading to a happier and relaxed feeling.
- Meditate daily. I’ve said this a few times. Meditation helps brings self awareness and allows you to catch yourself at those crucial moments.
- Perform a diliberate random act of kindness. The important word there is deliberate; by actively choosing to do good you are bringing happiness to yourself by spreading happiness around.
Everyone not only wants to be happy, but deserves to be happy. You have within your locus of control to make that happen. Give the 21-Day challenge a try and let me know how it works out.
Check out Shawn’s talk below, and if you are able to, check out his book, The Happiness Advantage.