Does Success Make You Happy or Does Being Happy Make You Successful?

Happy & SuccessfulThe topic of happiness seems to be coming up frequently in the literature. Over the last year, I have read three books on the subject and it also seems to be featured in many magazines. The underlying theme of all I have read over the last while on this topic is that although the real meaning of happiness is different for everybody there is no question that happiness is a choice.

Recent research out of Harvard conducted by Shawn Achor reveals what an important choice it is. It seems that instead of successful people being happy the studies have revealed that it is primarily happy people that are successful. This success included almost all the areas of life including work, health, friendships, creativity and energy. Apparently when we are “happy” our brain is releasing more dopamine and serotonin which helps us to function more effectively. This helps us to remember and retrieve information in a more efficient way, to organize tasks more effectively and to be more creative.

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To find corporate examples to support this theory think Zappo’s, Google and Apple, three of the best companies to work and also three of the most successful. Treating their employees with respect and valuing their opinion’s as well as providing a positive and “fun” working environment has been a large part of the success of these companies. Tony Hsieh founder and CEO of Zappo’s talks all about this in his bestselling book “Delivering Happiness”. We now have studies to support the theory that happy people are more productive. As a business leader or leader in your community there are some steps you can take to further the happiness of the people that work for you and with you.

Tips to Create a Happy Workplace

  1. Hire happy people. Attitude is so important
  2. Be happy yourself. Focus on the positive
  3. Make happiness a priority. Have some fun at work
  4. Praise the process. Make sure there is always positive feedback along the way and that you acknowledge the efforts.

I know it is impossible to feel happy all the time. We are human and sometimes life is hard and the days seem long. So what can we do when we are feeling a little blue to try and kick up our happiness levels and get those dopamine and serotonin levels flowing. Try these techniques:

Mood Elevating Tips

  1. Smile. Even if you don’t feel like it. It will change your mood
  2. Laugh out loud
  3. Have a work out. Exercise does wonders
  4. Do something for others. Philanthropy makes us happy
  5. Meditate
  6. Write down what you are grateful for
  7. Sing (unless like in my case doing so will make others unhappy) or listen to music you love
  8. Get together with people you care about

It really is a choice to be happy. And it is amazing how little things can have a huge impact on your over all wellbeing and according to the studies your overall success.

What do you do to improve or maintain your happiness?

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