Happiness First

If I successfully reach my goal on this date, then I’ll be happy.  The traditional wisdom that I will be happy after I am successful, isn’t really wisdom at all.  Happiness comes first.

In his insightful book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor clearly articulates the researched findings that “Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.”  Achor notes that 75% of the capacity to predict the success level of a future employee lies directly in the following criteria: an optimism that your behavior matters, a positive social support system, and whether the person views a challenge as a stress or an impetus to improve.

Recently, I set a total distance goal over a specific period of time that I would work to achieve in a daily exercise routine.  This was a stretch goal, one that I would have to work very consistently on for several months to attain.  I was able to reach the distance goal even earlier than I had planned.  But, the ending was really quite anticlimactic.  I immediately found myself wanting to set the next goal.  What had really made me the happiest was consistently reaching increments of progress along the way.

I realized then what Achor references the moment that the odometer on the equipment moved past the goal.  Getting there on a daily basis with a sense of optimism, daily fulfillment in moving closer to the goal and then sharing the progress with a supportive group of people along the way was really what made me happy.  I wanted a set a next goal to stay happy.

The referenced happiness advantage lesson to learn from Achor and apply yourself is this:  “Happiness precedes important outcomes and indicators of thriving.  The wealth of data has found that happiness causes success and achievement, not the opposite.”


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