Who does not want to be successful ? I am sure you do. We all do so in the different walks of our life, be it our education, jobs, physical fitness, personal lives etc. Not only that, we also link it to our level of happiness. But when we really sit down to assess how to go about it; we tend to back off, as it all seems to involve a lot of work.
However, some latest Harvard research shows us a fun way to do it. The researcher and author of the best seller ‘The happiness advantage’ Shawn Achor demonstrates that success does not bring happiness – but rather the reverse – it is happiness that breeds success. His research focused on those who were out of the norm – the outliers. For example, why, when an entire sales force has low sales numbers there are a few with extraordinarily high numbers. Or, in a class where academic marks are below average, there are a couple of students with outstanding results.
Shawn’s research shows us that if we can get a person to raise their level of optimism, deepen their social connections or raise their level of happiness it will have a direct impact on results – every result be it at work, or education will improve dramatically – compared to what it might have been if a person was negative or stressed.
So, how do we go about it ? The research also shows us that if we want more joy and success in our life we need to :
- FOCUS ON HAPPINESS : We may achieve a goal and be happy briefly but then we tend to look towards the next big thing. It is only when we reverse the formula and focus on increasing our happiness that we end up increasing our level of success.
- SEE PROBLEMS AS CHALLENGES, NOT THREATS : When we are positive, happy and resilient, any changes, be it at our job, education etc are perceived as challenges, not threats. It is all a question of attitude, and seeing and accepting stress as a challenge can be learned, in order to be more successful in life.
- BUILD SOCIAL INVESTMENTS : In order to adapt to a more stressful and competitive environment of today, you need to build your social connections, friends and activities. These are the greatest predictor of happiness we have and these help us handle stress better than anything else.
SO, HAPPINESS MAKES YOU MORE SUCCESSFUL – THE QUESTION ARISES HOW DO WE GET HAPPIER ? Its simpler than you think
- FOCUS ON DAILY HAPPINESS HABITS : Remember little things are more important and doing these regularly will give a big boost to our happiness. What these do is build your social interactions and also your personal satisfaction. These include, starting the day by sending a thank you email to a colleague, friend. This will build your social connections and also your teamwork. Then you can also list things you are grateful for, spend a few minutes meditating to build an inner peace and exercise to build physical wellbeing.
- APPLY THE 20-SECOND RULE : The most difficult thing to do is to get started and what you need is ‘activation energy’. The energy and discipline it takes to get out of bed and head for the gym can be made easier if you reduce the time required to activate the new habit – make it 20 seconds easier to start. Lay out your workout gear so you just slip them on and head for the gym, doing so will make it much more likely that you exercise.
So where do we end. It obvious that if we cultivate positive habits that encourage us to interact with our life in a more positive manner, it will lead to a higher level of success. We can do so by changing our mindset and also our habits so that we actually succeed over what our habits are constantly communicating to us.
So start focusing on developing one habit at a time – it will make you happier and by being happier you will be more successful and start to deepen your relationships.
BOTTOM LINE :
Happiness. Success. Strong relationships. What else really matters in life ?