Which Came First Happiness Or Success
How Achieving Happiness First Can Bring About the Success You Desire
According to research and science, our present day thoughts regarding happiness and success are backwards. Today’s nonstop, multi-tasking, go-go lifestyle lead many to believe that it takes the successful achievement of a personal or professional goal to finally feel happiness. You’ve likely said or heard someone say, “If I can get that promotion, or land my dream job, or lose weight, or live somewhere else… I will finally be happy.” This mode of thinking places your happiness solely on the successful attainment of something external. And, if that endeavor is in fact not successful, feelings of frustration and unhappiness tend to follow.
This false theory of ‘achieving success leads to happiness’ is in fact making people unhappier. Why? First, believing your achievements alone will make you feel happy can fuel a stressful lifestyle – one filled with working yourself nonstop, being extra critical of yourself and your work, and believing that it is acceptable to be constantly stressed because you are ‘trying to achieve something’.
So, what is the solution? Your first step is shifting your mindset. Research in neuroscience, psychology, and management studies has shown that happiness in fact fuels success -- quite the opposite of what society would have us believe. Shifting our mindset to one of optimism and positivity has been shown to help us become more creative, engaged, energized, motivated, and even more productive at the tasks at hand.
There are many ways to foster a mindset of happiness, but if you tend to lean towards a pessimistic or negative outlook, it will take some retraining of your brain (which is in fact easy and attainable). These daily tips and techniques can help you attain a greater level of happiness, which in turn can lead to more success regarding your dreams and goals. Consider implementing a few of the following:
- Practice Gratitude – You have probably heard this already at some point, but now it is time to seriously implement it into your life. Each day, at a time you feel comfortable or have a few minutes undistracted, make a list of three to five things you are grateful for; these can be anything from getting a great night of sleep to being thankful for another day, or finding a close parking spot at work.
These items are things that matter to you and have made your day better. Either jot them down in your phone’s notepad or in a journal; when you look back on them, you’ll quickly see all of the things you have to be grateful for in your life, which will undoubtedly make you feel happier.
- Get Your Blood Moving – No matter how busy your schedule is, squeezing in even 15 minutes of exercise gets blood moving and feel-good chemicals released. These chemicals can improve your mood and make you feel happier, and the exercise will make you feel more energized and ready to tackle your goals.
- Meditate – Contrary to popular societal belief, it is actually okay to stop and take a few minutes for yourself! There are many popular meditation apps that you can easily download for free to your cell phone. For instance, Headspace and Calm are two that have terrific ratings. Taking 3 to 5 minutes each day to stop and clear your mind, focus on your breathing, and let your body’s stress level come down a little can not only make you feel happier, but it can do wonders for your mental state and blood pressure!
- Take Part in Acts of Kindness – Taking the focus off of ourselves and taking a step back from the stress we are under to constantly perform and achieve is also critical in increasing our happiness, and ultimately our success. Take a few minutes each day to help someone, send a thank you, or even compliment a complete stranger.
Giving back to others, taking time for self-care, practicing gratitude, and nurturing a calm atmosphere in your own life are all terrific ways to decrease stress levels and increase the amount of happiness you feel. As you find more joy, and are feeling less stressed, you will find that you become more successful in all areas of your life.