Does success = happiness or does happiness = success?

Does Success bring Happiness or Happiness bring Success? In this week leading up to the International Day of Happiness on 20th March, it would be good to know what you think? 

We all seem to have a tendency to chase success hoping it might make us happy. For example, perhaps we will be happy when we lose weight, or get a promotion, or hit your sales target, or go on holiday etc. However, the truth of it is that this magical destination of success is forever elusive because it is a moving target! Once we have achieved a goal, maybe we might briefly be happy, but then we look for the next big thing to achieve.  

Research by Shawn Achor (author, speaker, Positive Psychologist, and founder of GoodThink, Inc.) suggests that we flip the formula, focus on working with a positive and happier mind-set and we will end up increasing success. Shawn calls this ‘the happiness advantage’ where every single business and educational outcome he has tested for, shows improvement when the brain is positive.

Most importantly he says the habits we cultivate, and how we relate to stress, can all be better managed to increase happiness and your chance of success. Training the brain is no different to training your body at the gym. You can rewire the brain as you develop new habits (it’s called neuroplasticity). 

Through Mindfulness and Meditation, you can certainly learn to train the muscle of your mind, cultivating an increased sense of optimism, life-satisfaction and mental wellbeing.  You can even learn to relate to life’s many challenges and stresses with a better feeling of balance and equilibrium and recover more quickly from them.

It’s as well to realise that this does not preclude ‘unfolding’ towards bigger goals that help us achieve a sense of meaning and fulfilment. It does though enable us to live a lifestyle that allows us to be happier right now, in the moment, wherever we are in life. Encouraging curiosity, community, gratitude, appreciation, kindness, meditation, exercise etc.  

“Focus on being happy at present. Be proud of where you are in life and who you are. You can be happy now and still strive for more. This will help you bag accomplishments and perform better in many other aspects of life. And you will enjoy the ride as well.” (Happiness India Project) 

Happiness is a journey, not a destination

As Penny Locaso says in the Harvard Business Review January 12, 2021

“Happiness is being able to ride the wave of every emotion that life throws at you, knowing that you can come out the other side just a little better than what you were before because you have the skills (focus, courage, curiosity), the resources (a positive mindset), and the support structure (a community) to make that happen.”

Lead trainer, Bonnie Roberts, from Positive Consultancy Ltd  runs workshops in Stress Reduction and Resilience through Mindfulness and Meditation for Businesses and Organisations, groups and individuals.  More information to be found  here.

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