Happiness and Success
In their fantastic book, Burnout, researchers Emily and Amelia Nagoski suggest this sort of gratitude practice: being thankful for some that has happened, and the way it happened, in order to cultivate our inherent sense of gratitude and happiness. When we focus on things (job status, material possessions, people), we are placing our gratitude and happiness in something we could lose, but when we intentionally focus on gratitude for an event that has already happened, we get all the good side effects of a gratitude practice without any of the precarious nature of conditional happiness. (Science!)
For example: if you didn’t get the job promotion you wanted, but then a better one came along, we can focus on and amplify our gratitude for the way the Universe worked that one out. (But not the job itself, which could disappear unexpectedly.) Or if you met your partner by happenstance, an odd set of circumstances that not even a movie director could have thought up, we hold gratitude for the way that played out. (But not the partner, because… well, you get it.) Heck, “made it through that meeting without crying” even works. The point is to show our brains the positive—gratitude practices don’t negate the struggles we face, they just redirect our brain (and those neural pathways) to focus on the good, first.
How can you cultivate your happiness today? How will that impact your success? What does success even look like to you?
Achor, S. (2016). The Happiness Advantage. Retrieved January 9, 2019, from http://goodthinkinc.com/resources/books/the-happiness-advantage/
Diener, E. (2006). Guidelines for national indicators of subjective well-being and ill being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 397–404.
Nagoski, E., & Nagoski, A. (2020). Burnout: the secret to unlocking the stress cycle. Vermilion.