Last time I talked about how science has found that happiness = success. Be happy first and success will follow. So, how does one do that? Well, Shawn Anchor (the author of The Happiness Advantage) said that in the Harvard study, they looked at the patterns and characteristics of people who are happy and successful and some common themes emerged.
1. Happy and successful people are optimistic. That means that they believe that the things that they think, say and do really matter. They believe this even when circumstances may be suggesting otherwise. This is why athletes and musicians spend hours and hours practicing and building their skills by failing and making many mistakes – they know that all of their efforts matter and their failed attempts will pay off in the end.
How does this translate to your business? Well, it means that you continue to focus on your end desire and believe that everything you do is an important step toward reaching your goal even when: you go to networking meetings and don’t get any referrals or bring in any new clients . . . you pour your heart and soul into a blog and receive very little feedback on your posts . . . you are doing great work with clients and having amazing results and still your business isn’t building as fast as you want it to . . . you schedule a workshop and no one signs up. No matter what you current circumstances suggest, you know that what you do and who you are makes a difference.
2. Happy and successful people build a social support network filled with positive people who believe in their potential. In a separate study on happiness, researchers found that if you have one happy friend, then your overall happiness improves by 15%. If your happy friend has a happy friend, then your happiness improves another 10% and if the happy friend of your happy friend has a happy friend, then your happiness increases by another 10%, even if you don’t know that person. Since we are all connected by the wireless network of our mirror neurons (as discussed last time), then who we associate with and how we interact with them makes a difference in our happiness. When we associate with positive, happy people who associate with other happy people, we are much happier.
3. Happy and successful people know how to manage their stress in positive and productive ways. They have a toolbox of stress management skills and they use them. One positive pattern is that when they are stressed, instead of withdrawing and isolating, happy and successful people reach out to their social network. They call people, schedule times to meet with them in person so that they can shift to a more positive perspective.
4. Happy and successful people are grateful. They train their brain to scan their environment looking for things that are going well and things to be grateful for. Even in times of crises, they are searching for opportunities and ways to make positive changes in their situation. The truth is that what you focus your attention on expands and amplifies. When you are grateful and focusing on the positive, the positive will expand and there will be more to be grateful for.
So, you can decide to be happy now by doing the following things:
- Believe that what you think, what you say and what you do matters – YOU matter!
- Develop your social network and make friends with positive people who believe in your potential and who have happy friends who have happy friends.
- Learn and use positive and productive stress management techniques and regularly reach out to your social network, especially when you are stressed.
- Train your brain to look for what is going well and the opportunities that are always available
- Be grateful.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please share them below.
Excellent article. My experience and beliefs agree with all you have said. Success without happiness and an optimistic outlook comes painfully for you and those around you.
Yes, an excellent article. Thank you, Melanie. I’d like to quote you in my blog. I haven’t written this week’s blog yet, but I was just thinking of how I have learned to look for small improvements and have taught my clients to do so, and was thinking of blogging about that. Many of us disregard the small, and underestimate how little things add up, like #4 above, “training your brain to look for what is going well.” For example, I am a runner, and at the moment, my foot is complaining. To be brief, I had an accident and some sickness, so my training was interrupted for quite some time. As I am coming back, one foot in particular does not seem pleased, shall we say. However, what I notice is that although it is not “just going away,” I am slowly able to do a little more and a little more, AND the foot recovers faster each time, even if it does get stiff and sore after working out. Although it can be frustrating, I can take joy in knowing that I have seen that pattern before with my body and with clients. As I continually listen to my body, and add just a bit at a time, giving enough time for recovery, and being patient with my foot, I am quite sure that eventually I will be back to my half-marathons that I love to run! Thank you for the reminders in your well-written article.
Jan – so glad you found this article helpful! Looking at progress is so important in staying focused on the good. Glad your foot is healing and you are making steady progress toward your goal of running half marathons again!! Yes, I’d be honored if you quoted me in your blog – thanks!!
Absolutely on time article! When we’re discouraged by the continuous disappointments for what we continue that we think are always the right thing to do, that is definitely the time to feed from the positiveness of others. Great article and much needed reminders.