The concept of the American Dream has blinded us. We think that if we put our noses to the grindstone and work our tails off, we’ll become rich and successful. It turns out, however, we should be chasing something else entirely. It’s not the riches we should be pursuing, but rather happiness. Smiles, laughter and positivity within the brain – that’s where real success lies.
Be Happy, Be Successful
Not that we shouldn’t be working hard to achieve our dreams, but we should also be dedicating time to finding contentment in our day-to-day lives as well. According to extensive research conducted by Shawn Achor, happiness could be the key to greater productivity and results within the workplace. Here are some specifics from Achor’s studies:
Happy people experience a 23 percent reduction in stress.
When happy, health is improved in general by 39 percent.
Productivity sees a 31 percent increase when people become content.
Positive social interactions go up 34 percent for happy people.
It’s not a question at all of whether or not happiness will help steer you toward success. It will. The question, instead, is how do we achieve happiness? Can we change from unhappy to gleeful by merely wanting to? The answer is yes. We can change. In order to adopt a positive, blissful existence, you should alter your perspective and take on a few specific practices:
View Failures as Beneficial Learning Experiences
Failure is an inevitable part of life. It’s not a question of whether you’ll fail – but when. If we let them, these failures can really bog us down. Instead, let’s make the most of these instances by turning them into positives. View mistakes as learning experiences – things from which you can benefit – and use them to fuel your growth and success.
Dedicate Time and Energy to Your Relationships
Relationships are the lifeblood of human existence. We’re social creatures. We strive for connection because it’s what makes us feel good. Take time for the people in your life. Set up dates. Send letters. Make time for phone conversations. Nothing can bring light into your life like the words of a loved one.
Know When It’s Time to Take a Breather
In today’s society, we push ourselves to the max. We tire ourselves out for the sake of work and of our extensive to-do lists. Many Americans don’t even use all of their vacation days! Recognizing when it’s time to take a rest is an essential part in achieving happiness. You have to have some energy available to dedicate to positivity – so give yourself breaks.
Find Joy in the Here and Now
Happiness is being able to enjoy what’s happening in your present. Too often we linger in the past or put our efforts into planning for the future. Take time to notice and be grateful for everything positive happening around you right now.
Express Your Desires
When you want something, say something. Worst-case scenario: They’ll say no. Hockey player Wayne Gretsky has a famous quote: “You’ll miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” It’s true. It’s true in hockey, and it’s true in life. If you’re not communicative, don’t expect to get what you want.
Remember to Look at the Big Picture
Annoying, get-you-down things happen every single day. What you have to remember, however, is that many of them won’t matter in the grand scheme – maybe not even next week. Don’t let the little things get you down; they’re not worth the energy.
Show Appreciation Often and Openly
Expressing gratitude is an easy way to feel good. Everybody likes to be recognized for individual contributions. It brings satisfaction to both give and receive gratitude, to give people a sense of purpose, to feel as if you have one. It brings satisfying warmth. Share thanks; tell people you appreciate them.
Don’t Let Outside Opinions Knock Your Dreams Off Course
How many times have you let others discourage you from doing something you wanted to do? Put those days behind you. If you allow the opinions of others to direct your course, you won’t like the final destination. Your dreams are your dreams – there’s no place for naysayers in making them come true.
Incorporate Nature and Exercise in Your Daily Routine
Listen to biology and take a walk outside. Fresh air – particularly on a sunny day – can really boost your mood. At the same time, regular exercise has been shown to ease the symptoms of depression. Fill your life with both in order to really reap the benefits of nature and exercise.
Go forth and be happy; success will follow.