of the Villages

Happiness and Success

Why are some people more successful than others? Talent, hard work, ambition, discipline or luck? That’s certainly not wrong. However, it seems that there may be another interesting cause of success. Happiness and success are directly related – but probably not in the way you might expect. Put simply: you don’t have to be successful to be happy, you have to be happy to be successful.

Many people are convinced of a misconception that once they are rich/beautiful/successful/popular etc., they will also be happy. But research into happiness and success has drawn a rather astonishing conclusion: external factors account for only around 10% of a person’s long-term happiness. It seems that around 90% of your happiness in life comes from within. How your brain perceives and processes the outside world is particularly crucial. In other words, whether it focuses on the positive or the negative in your life. Because no matter how privileged you are, your life will never be perfect, and so there will always be cause for unhappiness.

At the same time, there are people who impress us by the fact that they never seem to lose their radiant smile despite a difficult fate. It seems that happiness does not depend on your success. Instead, you can be perfectly happy without success. We tend to believe that the harder we work, the more successful we will become. This is part of our culture – we will be happier if we are more successful. But this is probably a fallacy. In fact, it may be that it is because we are happy that we become successful.

We know that people who are happy also tend to be more successful at work. The brain is much more productive in a positive state than in a negative one. Constant striving for success (in order to be happy) may increase our negativity – not everyone can achieve highly all the time, and too much striving leads to anxiety which will not produce happiness.

The takeaway from this is that happiness can be a cause of success, rather than the other way round.