Like the proverbial question: “which comes first, the egg or the chicken”, people often disagree as to what causes what: happiness or success.
Those who think that “happiness” results to success believe that when a person is happy, he is at peace, optimistic, full of energy, and has strong self-confidence — key factors that attract success in life. They add that a happy individual is more amiable and dependable to work with. But there are those who believe that those same qualities are the results of a person’s success.
However, separate studies conducted by psychologists at Yale and the University of California show that happiness does not depend on being successful or raking in lots of money. Their studies say that:
- People who seem “successful” in their careers or chosen professions would rather do things that are more fulfilling, are freer to do what they like doing, and have the opportunity engage more in what they are passionate about — things that make them happy (rather than successful).
- Happiness results to optimism, confidence in one’s self, and stronger motivation. These factors make happy people more creative and successful in achieving their goals faster.
Therefore, aim for happiness first with these tips and success will follow:
- Have the intention to be happy. You must resolve to make the necessary modifications and changes in your life that you believe will make you happy. Stop seeking for happiness; instead, start living it. In fact, constant search for happiness will make it more elusive. Trying every suggested formula for happiness is often ineffective and can only result to frustrations and disappointments. This is because happiness does not come about by doing prescribed activities or mantras. It is the result of a change in lifestyle.
- Change your mind-set. Develop traits like forgiveness and gratitude. Redefine your values. Be open-minded and patient to other opinions that differ from yours. Prioritize peace of mind over being “always right”. Be considerate of people’s feelings.
- Seek the company of happy, positive people. Study shows that happiness is a collective phenomenon. By your constant and close association with positive people, you will absorb each others’ good vibrations by the natural process of osmosis. They can provide you with a more pleasant ambiance and productive attitudes. These are needed to the development of a healthy social life, especially an entrepreneurial lifestyle. With a group, problems are shared and made lighter so stress is eliminated.
- Keep focused on the present moment. This will unburden you of regretting the irretrievable past and prevents you from worrying needlessly about the future — the biggest reasons for procrastination and the obstacles to your productivity.
Like multi-tasking, concentrating on more than one thing simultaneously is a great time and energy waster. It is the very anti-thesis of productivity. Focus only on what is necessary at any single time so you do not waste time and energy.
- Flex those muscles. A recent study was made on the effect of exercise on patients with depressive disorders. Those who were taken off drugs and made to undergo several exercise routines had higher rates of recovery and much lower rates of relapse than those who just underwent cold turkey treatment. This proves that physical exercise is a primary cause for productivity, health, and overall happiness.
- Be grateful for everything. Expressing gratitude is also a way of being focused in your life. It puts you in your present moment. It makes you aware and appreciative of each things happening to you.
Be grateful to your God, whoever you conceive him to be, and to all the other people around you who complete your life. With this appreciative attitude within you, how could you ever think of hurting or being mean to anyone, thus making you a good person?
A study published in The Journal of Happiness Studies confirms that gratitude has a great impact on our emotional well-being. It improves interpersonal relationship levels and decreases depressive symptoms. This was the result when 219 participants were made to write letters of gratitude every week for 3 consecutive weeks.
- Get out of your way to reach out. Every now and then, you should focus your attention outside yourself, your work, your business, your world. To quote Cassie Mogilner, an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Pennsylvania, on happiness: “giving your time to others can make you feel more “time affluent” and less time-constrained than wasting your time, spending it on yourself…”
You can do volunteer work in your community, be a mentor to friend, etc. These activities that concern others’ welfare will increase your sense of time and can give you great personal satisfaction. A study conducted by Harvard Business School that “pro social spending”, or spending for others, can make a person happier. Incidentally, this is practice is also found to be contagious and encourages others to do the same.
These tips on how to be happy can turn your frustrating day to a productive one that is worth your gratitude and appreciation — the keys to your happiness.