Happiness and success go hand in hand. Many of us have been instilled with the idea that success breeds happiness, and the more goals we achieve, the happier we will become. Therefore, successful outcomes in our professional career will guarantee overall satisfaction in our life. While this type of thinking may be commonly accepted as true, recent research in positive psychology suggests otherwise. 

Happiness and success are undoubtedly related to each other– just not necessarily in the way we have originally presumed. In fact, they’re related in the inverse way. If we are happy in our life, our professional success will likely follow as a result. Recognizing the advantage of happiness at the outset of each new task frees you to produce an optimistic mindset. Let’s take a closer look below:

Putting Success First

When success is put first, we’re constantly creating new goals for ourselves. We say, “Once I get that promotion, or that raise, or that quota, I’ll be happy.” But once we reach that initial goal, we envision the next one just over the horizon. Success is a moving target, says an article by Harvard Business Review. The reality is that once we achieve one goal, we create a new one to work towards rather than feeling satisfied with the one recently completed. Happiness becomes a fleeting and often unattainable feeling that is far over the horizon.

The Happiness Advantage

Shawn Achor is a New York Times best-selling author, an advocate for positive psychology, and a world-leading expert on the connection between happiness and success. Achor coined the term “happiness advantage” to describe how favorable business outcomes happen as a result of a positive brain and mindset. 

Most companies subscribe to the belief that the harder you work, the more successful you’ll be, and the happier you’ll become. However, Achor calls for a reversal of the formula for happiness and success. 

“Our brains work in the opposite order,” Achor states in a TED Talk, “If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral, or stressed.” When our brains are positive, our intelligence, creativity, and energy levels all increase. 

Focusing on Happiness

Rewiring our brains and training them to remain positive under any circumstances can be achieved by doing a short positive exercise each day for 21 days straight. By practicing positive mindset techniques for three weeks, our brains learn to scan the world through an optimistic lens. 

Achor suggests that people should include at least one of the following positive exercises each day: 

Gratitude: Jot down three new things you’re grateful for each day. By doing so, you will begin to look at the world in a new way– stressing the positives before and perhaps even eliminating the negatives. 

Journaling: Write about the most positive or meaningful experience you’ve had over the most recent 24 hours. This practice allows your brain to relive and reinforce the positive moment and its impact going forward. 

Exercise: By moving your body for at least 10 minutes, your brain is taught that behavior matters. A strong mind is the product of a strong body.

Meditation: Clear your mind and meditate for two minutes so that your brain can be calmed and effectively able to concentrate on the task ahead.   

Random Act of Kindness: Send a short, positive message either praising or thanking someone in your social support network. 

By engaging in one or more of the above activities each day for three weeks, we can train our brains to rethink the way we approach happiness and success. The ripple effect of focusing on happiness first produces waves of optimism from which ultimately flows positive business effects. 


Viewing success as a source of happiness may be what’s currently accepted and adopted in many businesses, but that doesn’t make it correct or most effective. By focusing on cultivating happiness first and rewiring our brains to recognize and utilize its values at the outset, we can experience better health, productivity, and success. 

Knowted specializes in teaching tools that will enable you to utilize happiness and its positive effect on leading you to achieve your goals. For more information about how to create a positive mindset and use happiness as an advantage, please email us at info@knowted.co to get in touch!

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