Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Success and Happiness - Which Comes First?

A friend emailed me a great article this week. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor considered the motivational factors of happiness and success and whether one ultimately drove the other.

The report proposed that happiness is a precursor to success.  Because success is relative, as soon as we get close to the "target" it loses its value so we set a new, tougher challenge without feeling the benefit of achievement.

Sound familiar?

Most of us have been conditioned since birth to respond to a reward mechanism that works on the basis of "if you do x, you'll get y".  Whether it's good behaviour leading to a sweet treat or taking on "special projects" on top of your day job to secure a bonus payment or promotion, we are taught that achievement will give us positive results.

So where does how we feel about what we're doing come in to the equation? It saddens me when I hear someone say "Work's work isn't it. You're not supposed to enjoy it."  Really? Says who?  Show me the rule that says we're not supposed to enjoy what we do for at least 40% of our waking hours! I choose not to buy in to that myth.

And I'm not talking about superficial perma-smiles or some lofty "head in the air" kind of happiness either.
The Happiness Advantage author Shawn Achor says that the greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged brain.  That is genuine, floating-my-boat, even the bad days are good, happiness. And he goes on the suggest that your brain actually works better when you are happy!

Not sure how? Start with these questions and get in touch if you want to know more.

  • What does happiness mean to me?
  • What activities in life make me happy?
  • What is the best bit about my job now? What would it be like to do that bit all the time?
  • What impact does my level of happiness have on those around me?
  • Who is the happiest person I know and what do I tell myself about them? 
  • What do my thoughts about them tell me about how I feel about being happy?

Let me know your thoughts on how you relate happiness and success and how they work for you!


p.s. credit to for the picture!

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