Motivation and Happiness

Motivation and Happiness

One of the concepts that we come back to over and over again (in fact, it’s a foundational aspect of the Reframe program as a whole) is the idea of psychological well-being; what it is, what improves it, what harms it. Ryffs’ 6-Factor Model, which we visited a few modules back, is a great starting point—it suggests that we need autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relationships with others, life purpose, and self-acceptance to live a life of psychological well-being.


These concepts give us the starting point from which we can look at the cyclical nature of motivation and happiness. Does happiness yield motivation? Does motivation yield happiness? In short, yes and yes. If we’re low on motivation, we can dial into our happiness. If we’re low on happiness, we can dial into our motivation. These psychological concepts are closely linked and a great tool for us to use when things aren’t feeling so hot.


We have lots of data that confirms that, yes, it does appear that there’s a distinct connection between happiness and motivation. (Remember: correlation not causation, but we still feel pretty confident about the accuracy of this one.) In a study that examined the impact of happiness on productivity, researchers found that subjects who viewed a few comedy clips prior to completing a task were 12% more productive than those who did not. This same research group also looked at the impact of negative events on productivity and found that those who had experienced a major negative event in the last two years (a death in the family, natural disaster, etc.) and reported low happiness as a result were 10% less productive than those who had not. We also see tons of workplace studies looking into this exact idea, and they confirm that happier people are more productive people in the office.