Happiness – the secret ingredient to success?

Happy BusinesswomanWhat an interesting subject! I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started researching the subject. I had read somewhere that happy people are more successful and that statement appealed to me.

From my own experience I find working a lot easier when I am happy. I am more motivated, productive and creative and that seems to have a positive effect on my surroundings.

Is it the ‘chicken and egg’ question? Are you happy because you are succeeding or are you succeeding because you are happy?

Shawn Achor’s TED talk ‘The happy secret to better work’ is quite an entertaining eye opener.

He says that for generations we were led to believe that if we work hard enough, we will be successful. And only if we are successful will we be happy.

Recent discoveries in psychology and neuroscience however show that the opposite is true. When we are happy, we are smarter, more motivated and thus more successful. You can’t be fearful or self doubting when you are happy.

Being happy seems to benefit your long term health, your brain works better and you live longer.

Those are all really good reason to try to be happy. Even the Dalai Lama says that the purpose of our lives is to be happy. So how do we get there?

According to studies, income and environment account for only 10% of happiness while we can influence 40% with our daily activities, our mind and our conscious choices. The other half is genetic.

Here are a few pointers on how you can increase your happiness:

  • Mindfulness or being in the present moment.  I found a free I-phone app ‘The Now’ very useful in reminding me to stop and enjoy the moment and smell the roses. It sends you appropriate quotes for 23 days and you can repeat the series as often as you like.
  •  Exercise and/or spend time outside. Don’t know why, but being active improves your mood. I used a sit on a Swiss ball while working and it regularly made me giggle and I felt better. Unfortunately the ball kept on rolling away when I got up and after the third time landing involuntarily on the floor when I tried to sit down again I gave up.
  • Sufficient sleep. Oh yes – I like this one, although at the moment it’s wishful thinking. Six hours is all I get if I am lucky.
  • Spend time with friends and family. Loving and supporting relationships increase your feelings of self-worth and belonging. So – be nice to your mates, it’s good for you.
  • Help others – that’s a reoccurring theme and I am sure you have experienced the good feeling yourself when you do something for somebody else. It might just be a random act of kindness or doing some work for your community
  • Smile more – isn’t it amazing what a smile can do
  • Meditate daily if possible. Research shows that meditation is good for your health and your state of mind.
  • Practice gratitude – write down three good things at the end of each day.  Do that for a week. It helps to focus on the positive experiences.
  • Write a ‘thank you’ letter to a member of your family, a friend or someone else who was a positive influence in your life. Tell them what you are grateful for and how they helped you. If possible hand-deliver the letter and spend some time with the person.
  • Look for the good in people and especially in those close to you. It’s so easy to take them for granted and fall into the constant criticism trap. Tell them that you appreciate them and the things they do.

There are some good websites like http://www.actionforhappiness.org” and many others. Not everyone agrees with the ‘Positive Psychology’ but what can be wrong with being happy?

What do you think? Do you have some more suggestions on increasing your happiness?

Have a happy day



  • Smile !!! That is the clincher for me….if you do it, it changes the whole psychology & physiology of you, it is nothing but good.
    I enjoyed the whole article but that was the point that really hit me & is so true!
    Helping others is another big one for me…I do really enjoy it & it also links very nicely to one of my fav’ phrases ‘What goes around, comes around’…..fate works in mysterious ways!
    Good post Gaby!

    • Gaby

      April 7, 2014

      Thank you Nigel.
      I am trying to write down three positive things each day. That focuses your brain onto the good happenings in life and it works. I find myself smiling more often.

  • Hi Gaby
    This is a subject I have thought a lot about.

    I have spent a lot of time in business worrying about stuff – like cash flow issues, closing sales, motivating the team, etc…

    Then it occurred to me that worrying would not solve the problems and might potentially lead to health problems.
    Through meditation and other means I learned to relax – by relaxing I stopped sweating the small stuff and was able to focus on the important stuff.

    I found this not only worked but I slept better. I was much happier AND, the issues I had previously been worried about either solved themselves or often a solution came to me when I least expected it but always in a timely way.

    I think your list is fantastic – I like to think I follow most of the points in it.

    Thank you for sharing


  • Pauline

    April 15, 2014

    Hey Gaby, good post.

    I agree with you about working better when you are happy. In fact you do most things better when you are happy.

    I have started smiling and saying hello to people I pass in the street. Some respond, others look at me as if I am from Mars, LOL.

    Even now I am smiling as I write this comment. If hubby comes through the door he will think I have lost the plot.

    Take care

  • Glen Dahilan

    April 28, 2014

    Hi Gaby,

    I can’t disagree enough with this post. Being healthy emotionally and mentally will greatly impact anyone’s performance in any aspect of his/her life. And with that said, yes, success is just a step away when you are happy while working for something you want to achieve.
    More success! 🙂


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