We believe that we will be happy only when we achieve a certain goal or finally get something that we want. But how long does that happiness last? When we do get that car, phone or holiday that we coveted, how long is it before we start craving the next thing?
Why do you want to be successful? What does success mean to you? Is it about your possessions, having influence, or leaving a legacy? Your definition helps you to clarify you goals, revisiting your goals maintains your motivation to take action and achieve results.
Shawn Achor in his book, “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work”, says that we should start by being grateful for what we have in order to build a solid core of positive emotions. What you focus on amplifies, and as you dwell more on the good things in your life, your friends, health, family, home, your very existence, your general level of happiness will improve. Then the magic happens! When you become happier, people around you will sense it. You will become more open to opportunities and as you grasp them success will follow, you will become even happier! A truly virtuous cycle.
These seven principles are:-
- Success follows happiness, not the other way around.
- The Fulcrum and Lever, as a lever acts as a force multiplier your mind set acts as an amplifier for you power to act
- The Tetris effect, what you dwell on you become, if you habitually focus on the negative, you miss the opportunities of the positive.
- Falling up, accept failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.
- The Zorro Circle, when you feel overwhelmed, regain control by focussing on small, manageable steps.
- The 20 Second Rule, minimize your barriers to change. Make it easier for yourself to reinforce good habits and harder to repeat bad ones.
- Social investment, research shows that the happiest 10% have the strongest social relationships, the best leaders make their employees feel cared for.
So what do humans really need? For basic survival they need shelter, water, food and family. To thrive and prosper they need education, opportunity and broader community. And to be happy? We need to feel included and respected within our tribe, but we are happiest when we give, contribute and leave a legacy through beneficial works.
There are many simple steps we can take towards increasing our happiness. Looking after our health and fitness; focussing on what we can be grateful for; practice giving and receiving; improve posture and facial expressions, smile more! Turn good practices into good habits, and let good habits build a fine character.