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~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #194
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“When we are happy —when our mindset and mood are positive — we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the center, and success revolves around it.”—Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work
Both success and happiness, what they consist of, look like and feel like, can only truly be defined by each individual. For one person’s happiness may be another person’s hell. And one person’s definition of excess stress and misery may be another person’s place of bliss and fulfillment, in other words their happy place.
Conceptually, happiness has been a hard term to pin down. As I shared in this post about the myths of success, if we look at the construction of the word “happiness” it implies luck, external circumstances; however, with time and cultural shifts in understanding, the definition changes and it will undoubtedly change again.
In Shawn Achor’s bestselling book The Happiness Advantage, he shares the definition the scientists he worked with agreed up . . .
“. . . as the experience of positive emotions —pleasure combined with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose. Happiness implies a positive mood in the present and a positive outlook for the future.”
Moving forward with this definition in mind, the deeper revelation was the need for happiness to be present in our everyday lives in order to attain the true success we seek. Again, success will be defined differently by all, but success regarding the quality of our “relationships, health, creativity, community involvement and friendships.”
“It turns out that our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive.”
The irony his book points out is that for some time the belief has been accepted that we must work hard in order to attain success and then we will be happy. But studies have flipped this false notion on its head. Rather “we become more successful when we are happier and more positive”.
At about the same time I was reading Achor’s book I heard a quote shared on Headspace during one of my meditation sessions, “When the mind is calm, there is clarity; with clarity, there is contentment; with contentment, there is compassion.” The progress toward happiness (contentment) comes from knowing where we wish to go, what we wish to do and the qualities we wish to develop. The journeys with each of these realizations is just that, a journey, but when we are clear about our choices, we find contentment and thus we are able to step toward success.
The truth about individuals, I have found, who embody this awareness is that there is a sincerity about the work they produce, the lives they live and an indifference toward seeking approval. The work they do and the life they live is their conscious choice made by them and them alone.
When someone who is striving toward a life they think they should have, a goal they think they want, but not enjoying the journey, eventually this truth is revealed in the work that is offered forth, the engagements with others along the way and mood they bring to the process. The magnetism is absent or false, the energy is flat and the passionate flame is nowhere to be found.
As we know, our lives have expiration dates, so why not stop chasing what you think will make you happy when you finally reach it and create a life right where you are that you enjoy living?
“Waiting to be happy limits our brain’s potential for success, whereas cultivating positive brains makes us more motivated, efficient, resilient, creative and productive, which drives performance upward.”
The fuel you are looking for involves shifting how you live your everyday, and when you do, you will elevate it to experience extraordinary moments each and everyday.
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~Where True Success Resides, episode #70
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