What is the definition of success? What about happiness? Do successful people have higher life satisfaction? Or do happier people have more career success? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?
Success can come in many forms. However, many believe success and happiness are intertwined and that happiness waits at the end of every winner’s story. But does success make you happy? What leads to success?
Experts would argue that the opposite is true. By keeping our levels of happiness high, we have stronger chances of being successful. All it takes is some practice and maintaining your well-being.
What is happiness?
Happiness is a subjective emotion that varies with every person. Positive psychology defines a happy person as an individual who expresses positive emotions, such as joy, love, and high interest. Happiness is a measure of subjective well-being, not a quantifiable quality.
According to psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, 40% of our happiness is within our power to control. The feeling sits inside us through all our accomplishments and moments of success.
There’s no scientific method to distinguish an exact measures of happiness.
What defines success?
Success is also subjective in its definition.
Far often, people associate success in terms of fame and finances with the hopes of achieving true happiness. While these types of success can lead to happiness, they can also create unhappy people.
Social media influencers obsessed with rising fame are susceptible to low self-esteem due to burnout or negative feedback. A financial tycoon with a high income may lack other aspects of his life, resulting in low energy and poor mental health.
Most people fail to realize how much our emotional state determines our success. By understanding our goals in life or how to reach them, we can become happier with our choices and be satisfied with our success.
Does success make you happy?
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I am successful but not happy”? Is it happiness that determines success, or success that determines happiness?
Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have proven that happiness motivates people into successful lives. Success does not always guarantee a happy life, and some people spend so much energy on the pursuit of happiness that they never enjoy what really makes them happy.
What’s important to remember is that happiness is not a destination but a state of mind. The path to happiness is achievable but only granted to those who know what they want out of life.
Does happiness lead to success?
While a good career or business success may make people happy, studies have shown that happy people actually have better work performance than unhappy people. In a study of the world’s largest employer – the US military – researchers Paul Lester, Ed Diener, and Martin Seligman discovered that happy soldiers received four times as many awards as unhappy soldiers. Happier workers also tend to have better performance evaluations.
So, instead of relying on your job success to make you happy, focus on your personal happiness and success will follow!
How to be happy and successful: The Seven Principles of Happiness
The seven principles of happiness are fundamental points constructed by Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage.”
By knowing these key points, a person can improve their resilience, happiness, and well-being in their life.
What is the happiness advantage?
Have you heard of the power of positive thinking? Training your brain to be more positive gives you an advantage over negative emotions. Like any other part of our body, the brain is a muscle ready to be trained.
A few positive interventions can help rewire your brain with more positivity:
- Anticipation for a future reward
- Performing acts of kindness
- Spreading positivity in your environment
- Investing in meaningful experiences and activities
- Using a signature strength
Change outcomes with your fulcrum and lever
Picture your mind like a fulcrum and belief like a lever. Like a machine, we can shift our mindset into the realm of positivity.
When our habits and thoughts change, so will our actions. We should allow our minds to be flexible and stop them from falling under negative patterns and routines.
To prevent negative thought patterns:
- Find meaning in your life. Understanding what makes you truly happy in life can give you a driven purpose. Those who are highly motivated have better chances for success.
- Be mindful of others. Treat others the same way you treat yourself, and know that your words and actions can impact happiness.
Create a positive “Tetris Effect”
The Tetris Effect describes viewing the world like a Tetris game. We can become fixated on certain aspects of our lives that limit our options. You can easily lose a game of Tetris if you focus on getting that one straight piece instead of working with the pieces you’re given.
By allowing our brains to scan for more positive opportunities, we can find better ways towards success without relying on negative behavior. Focusing on the good in your life and giving those thoughts your complete attention can make you happy.
When moments of failure arise, don’t think of them as your world collapsing. Instead, start imagining them as opportunities to grow.
Failure is a huge stress factor, and learning healthy ways to deal with it can improve your emotional state.
Being kind to yourself should be the first step – when you understand that you have done the best you can, your feelings of failure minimize. You become more efficient at finding solutions rather than giving up.
The Zorro Circle
When we look at our problems, we can combine them into an aggravating stress ball. Problems can seem overwhelming, creating feelings of helplessness.
The 20-second rule
No, this isn’t about eating food that fell on the floor. This principle applies to the time that prevents us from creating new, positive habits. It takes a lot of willpower to make healthy changes, so we often stick with our routines – even if they lead to negative behavior.
Making an activity take 20 seconds longer makes it less desirable to perform. If you have a bad habit of snacking while at your desk, putting your snacks across the room – so it takes an extra 20 seconds to stand up and access them – makes the action less desirable and easier to stop.
By that same logic, if constantly getting up for more ice is preventing your goal of drinking more water, try buying a well-insulated water bottle. Cutting 20 seconds out of the activity makes it easier to create a good habit.
One of the best tools for increasing happiness is social support. When you have a rough day, having friends and loved ones to lean on makes it better. Maintaining a healthy support system leads to a good life.
Being around other happy people has also been proven to extend your life span.
What is the secret of success?
Turns out, the secret to success isn’t working miserably long hours and hoping they eventually make you happy. Focusing on things that make you happy in your own life, positive goal setting, and a good support network are not only contributors to happiness, but to success as well.
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As one of the nation’s leading OB/GYNs, Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi offers the very best in women’s health and well-being. Together with her warm professional team, Dr. Aliabadi supports women through all phases of life. She fosters a special one-on-one relationship between patient and doctor.Dr. Aliabadi is a recognized leader in endometriosis treatment and has even taught minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to other surgeons across the country.
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