We have been conditioned to think that we will only be happy once we have achieved a financial goal, lost weight, got married, had a more satisfying love life or had a better job or position. While all these things do contribute to our happiness (albeit for a short period of time), the problem with this type of thinking is that once a goal is achieved, we move on the next one and so on. It, therefore, always puts the goal – and happiness – just beyond our reach.
Think about it for a minute. When you achieve a big goal, how does it make you feel? Euphoric? Elated? For how long does that feeling last? For most of us, it doesn’t last very long. Once a milestone is achieved, there are always other things that need to be done, targets that need to be achieved and so on.
New research is now emerging which confirms that unless you are happy now, exactly where you are, success in life is often delayed, if not denied. The formula that we need to apply to our lives is the complete opposite of what we have been taught throughout our lives.
It’s time we looked at happiness from a different perspective.
How are happiness and success related?
According to psychologist and author of a New York Times best seller The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor says there is a thing called the positivity advantage which means that our brain performs significantly better when positive, as opposed to when it’s in a neutral, negative or stressed state.
A person’s intelligence, creativity and energy levels rise when the brain is wired and programmed to see the bright side in each situation. Interestingly, dopamine which floods into your system has two functions; it makes you happier, and opens up all the learning centers in your brain allowing you to adapt to the world in a different way.
The best part of it all? You can train your mind to be more positive. Shawn Achor tells us how it’s possible. He says you should wake up every day and write 3 things that you are grateful for.
Vishen Lakhiani, founder and CEO of Mindvalley, believes meditation and gratitude can bring back vitality and happiness into life. You can find his talk; ‘Why happiness is the new productivity’ here.
I believe that gratitude is the key to happiness.
The problem with today’s idea of success – its flawed, broken and isn’t serving us anymore.
There’s a big problem with the way we define success as a society today – the concept is flawed, broken and isn’t serving us anymore. We still think having a large home, well-behaved children, riches, a great-looking spouse and a nice sports car defines success.
The reality is that having a loving home is more important than having a large house, having a meaningful job will always bring more happiness than holding a well-paying position that isn’t satisfying.
Don’t delay your happiness till you achieve a big goal – learning how to be happy in the now is an important life skill.
How can happiness levels be achieved in all and every situation?
You’ll find yourself sleeping better, eating healthier, feeling positive – and will completely do away with negative self-talk, stress and anxiety of work or personal relationships. What’s more, a daily dose of meditation will also help you have stronger, stable relationships, more compassion for people around you, and your community, and higher emotional intelligence. For all these benefits and more, don’t you think expending 15 minutes a day on meditation is a great deal in the long run?
So what exactly happens when you are grateful?
In one line, I can say that gratitude has the power to completely transform your life. Dr Robert A. Emmons from the University of California and Dr Michael E McCullough from the University of Miami have spent much of their careers studying the effects on gratitude on people. Their study confirms that gratitude does make people happier, and thus healthier.
Happiness is truly found in helping others, and people like Mother Teresa and Edhi knew this. This is why they dedicated their lives to improving others’.