Happiness and Success
“I’ll be happy when I land the promotion.”
“I’ll be happy when I make 6-figures.”
“I’ll be happy when I find my soulmate.”
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a thought like any of those? *sheepishly raises hand* It’s okay, I think that makes you human. We’re quick to link our happiness to our achievements—conventional markers of success like job status, marriage status, income level, owning a home, having the 2.5 children we’re supposed to have, or... whatever. We’ll be happy when we achieve those things… right?
But as we’ve learned through the hedonic treadmill, our happiness is not actually very dependent on our material successes. If we’re unhappy, and we achieve a *thing,* we’re not likely to suddenly become happy. First, let this be a freeing thought—the rat race won’t make you happy. (So you can hop off that hamster wheel if you’d like!)
Second, we understand that this means we stand to benefit from dialing into our happiness before attending anything else. The research tells us that happy people are successful, but not that successful are happy. The data solves the question: which comes first? Happiness.
And when we foster our happiness, we’re likely to see those traditional markers of success begin to manifest in our lives. Or better yet, we see our version of success manifest—your version of a good life might look wildly different than mine does. All we know is that happy people have high success markers in a wide spectrum of life domains: work, income, health, relationships, and more.
Today, let’s practice one of the science-backed strategies for upping our happiness: gratitude. Don’t worry—we’re not going to ask you to do your average gratitude practice (*gag*) today, because we actually know that just listing all of the things (people, places, things) that we’re grateful for is not as effective as practicing gratitude for the way something happened.