Happiness isn’t earned.

This seems like a radical thought when the universal law of happiness, deeply embedded in our psyche from day one, is — “You need to work harder to be more successful, because the more success you achieve, the happier you will be.”  But, Shawn Achor (happiness researcher, bestselling author, and corporate speaker), points out that research is proving we’ve got the happiness law backwards. It is happiness that leads us to greater success, not the other way around.

“Our brains at positive are 31% more productive than at negative, neutral, or stressed. When we are happy our intelligence rises. Our creativity rises. And, our energy level rises.”

Don’t treat happiness as if it’s a self-help motivational reward to get us to a better future.  Happiness isn’t a carrot we need to keep dangling in front of our goals to bait ourselves into achieving them. Nor is it a bonus that needs to be earned, because each of our successes in turn moves our goal posts (and our happiness) out of reach. This only end up increasing our stress levels.

The truth is — happiness is a super food for us. Happiness is a carrot that feeds us and provides energy to help us reach our full potential in life. So it should come as no surprise that the greatest predictor of happiness is not our external world of houses, cars, and clothes. It is the way we process the world and, most importantly, other people — people who we like, have deep connections with, and who bring out our personal best. With others, our world is transformed.

So, embrace your happiness — now!

Shawn Achor — Happiness Advantage 2011 (This is one of the most entertaining Ted-X Talks)

Shawn Achor — Big Potential (2020)

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