We’ve all heard the age-old adage that success is the key to happiness, or at the very least, success leads to happiness, but does it really? There are millions of successful people around the globe who would quickly challenge this belief, and with good reason. Rather than relying on success being the key to your happiness, think about how happiness may breed your success.

Is success a creation of circumstances, or do successful people generate successful circumstances for themselves? Happiness and success do appear to go hand-in-hand. Research studies show that people who live in high spirits are naturally predisposed to seeking new opportunities as well as undertaking new goals in their life. The result is more happiness and success.

Researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, of the University of California says, “This may be because happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to be more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources.” Lyubomirsky also notes that happy people express more confidence (than their unhappy peers) and that they are more sociable and likable, which proves beneficial to both their happiness and to their success.

Given that unhappy people are more likely to have low self-esteem, they are also less likely to have the drive to become successful. To change your drive means changing your thoughts and behaviors, even those you feel to be deeply ingrained habits. The good news is that no habit can become so deeply ingrained that it cannot be transformed. “It’s a habit,” is no longer a valid excuse for avoiding change. If we have been able to get used to something through time, energy and repetition, we can also get rid of it the same way.

A review published in Psychological Bulletin shows that people who are happy have heightened success in key areas of their lives such as health, relationships and work. These types of people also enjoy higher incomes, more fulfilling marriages, a greater level of work performance and even longer lives!

This rate of success is the direct result of positive emotions that come from characteristics such as being creative, having effective coping skills and a positive perception of other people as well as themselves, which in turn, reinforces their happiness.

To change a behavior permanently, we have to change the daily thoughts that feed the most complex and sensitive computer in the world, our brain. Learning to visualize positive outcomes and circumstances is one effective way to increase your happiness. Identifying your personal strengths – everyone has some strengths and talents – and using them in positive ways will also enhance your happiness.

While success is something most people want, happiness is something everyone wants. The resounding result is that happiness leads to successful outcomes and not the other way around.
Article Author: Smiljan Mori is the founder of MindOver™ Network, Brilliant solutions for Performance, Motivation and Happiness. He has literally created a successful business and coaching empire from scratch and is a best-selling author and motivational speaker who brings unparalleled professional experience and the latest scientific research from neuroscience and positive psychology to audiences around the globe. He has shown more than 150,000 people from 50 countries how to change their lives for the better.

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Article References:
Motivaction For Life by Smiljan Mori
apa.org/news/press/releases/2005/12/success.aspx

Photo Source: courtesy of Stuart Miles / Free Digital Photos