Often in our modern society, happiness is considered a destination and related to success.
Most of us work incredibly hard in the belief that happiness will come from achieving our goals. There is nothing wrong with working hard and having some goals, what is wrong is that we postpone our happiness, we won’t be happy until we get there and in doing so we don’t really enjoy our journey because we are in a kind of waiting mode.
We believe that once we have achieved our goals we will be successful and, therefore, happy. Instead, it is the other way round, if we want to be successful we need to be happy first and there are also some evidence to prove it.
In fact, the result of some researches conducted by Emma Seppälä, the Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, indicates that
Happiness leads to Success and not the other way around.
Here is what Dr. Emma Seppälä is saying:
“After working in many high-achieving environments like Yale, Stanford, Silicon Valley, New York City, I noticed too many people pursuing “success” at a cost to themselves. They were postponing their happiness now in pursuit of success…with the idea that, when they attain success, they will be happy. Yet they were burning themselves (and others) out in the process. I too joined the rat-race, it seemed like what everyone was doing. It seemed like the right thing to do. But it wasn’t.
When I looked at the research, I saw that – overwhelmingly – happiness is actually the secret to success. If you prioritize your happiness, you will actually be more productive, more creative, more resilient, more energized, more charismatic and influential. You will have more willpower and be more focused, with less effort.”
Emma is suggesting to prioritize our happiness and I totally agree with that, since I believe happiness is a choice, and a way to live our lives. Happiness is a product of our minds and we need to work on our happiness on a daily base. We also need to realize that, as I have explained in one of my previous posts, happiness comes from within and not from the external like material things, people, situations.
Let’s go back to what Emma Seppälä is saying about success and happiness:
“You can either listen to common (yet false!) theories of success: work yourself into the ground, stay focused on your future goals, focus nonstop, you can’t have success without stress, look out for yourself first and foremost and be your own worst critic… or you can listen to the data which tells you the opposite: Take time off and you’ll be more innovative, stay present and you’ll be more productive and charismatic, take time to be idle and have fun and you’ll actually be more creative and more likely to have innovative breakthroughs, nurture calmness in your life and you’ll have more energy to get more work done, be kind to others and you’ll be more successful and be self-compassionate and you’ll be more resilient.”
At this point I would like to recommend reading these two posts “Happiness is in the present moment” and “To feel alive and happy, we need to live in the present”
According to Emma the power of self-compassion is the key
Here is was she is saying about it:
“In particular, research on compassion that we at CCARE and our collaborators have conducted at Stanford and beyond have shown the immense power of self-compassion and compassion not only for our personal well-being but for our work life. Many people are so self-critical, for example. Yet research shows that self-criticism is basically self-sabotage whereas self-compassion -treating yourself with the understanding, mindfulness and kindness with which you would treat a friend – leads to far greater resilience, productivity and well-being.”
You might like to read my post: Loving ourselves and having a High self-esteem can help us to be happier
Here are 4 tips to make self-compassion a Habit:
excerpted from Dr. Emma Seppälä new book The Happiness Track
I would like to conclude this post on “the secret to Success is to Be happy first” with a suggestion to read these two posts that might help you to follow the tips suggested by Emma.
- Positive Affirmations, a simple but effective exercise that can improve our life
- Simple suggestions to write a “Gratitude List”
Do You want to be Succesful? Start with being Happy!