The power of happiness as a tool for success

Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash

To try and defines success can be problematic. This is because, by its very nature it is a subjective concept. It depends on each individual’s context.

What makes up the state of being happy differs for everyone of us. But now, few people think of happiness as a necessary ingredient for success. For many people it is a result of success.

Many people work their hearts out in hopes of attaining some future-oriented happiness. That is why many are so miserable and frustrated with life. In life, very few things, if any, go according to our plans. As a matter of fact, many of our pursuits disrupt our little plans. Which means, for a great many people, happiness may never materialize any time soon. Or maybe not in this life.

But now, it would appear that some people do enjoy a great deal of happiness in their pursuits. They’re happy today. And psychologists have come to believe that happiness is necessary for success. You may think that many people should be able to see that. But the truth is many don’t. many postpone it for some future time.

Many agree that happiness implies a positive mood in the present and a positive outlook for the future.

Shawn Anchor in The Happiness Advantage highlights the fact that for untold generations, we have been led to believe that happiness orbited around success. That if we work hard enough, we will be successful and only if we are successful we will become happy. Success was thought to be the fixed point of the work universe, with happiness revolving around it.

Now, thanks to breakthroughs in the burgeoning field of positive psychology, we are learning that the opposite is true. When we are happy—when our mindset and mood are positive—we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful.

Happiness is the center, and success revolves around it.

Unfortunately, despite the decades of research that tell us otherwise, many businesses and their leaders still cling stubbornly to their belief in this flawed order. The ruling powers continue to tell us that if we just put our nose to the grindstone and work hard now, we will be successful, and therefore happier, in some distant future.

As we work toward our goals, happiness is either irrelevant or an easily dispensable luxury or a reward only to be won after a lifetime of toil. Some even treat it as a weakness, a sign that we’re not working hard enough. Every time we fall for this misguided creed, we undercut not only our mental and emotional well-being, but also our chances at success and achievement.

Ever heard of the mantra that goes, “Love what you do, and do what you love”? Many are frustrated because they hate what they do. They hate their work. Hate their colleagues. Worse still, many hate their own lives. This is because happiness seems to them as impossible.

But we hate to believe new discoveries. Vehicles need fuel to get them going. Even planes do. So do we. Motivation is what get’s us going. Motivation comes from being happy in our pursuits. Be happy now, and see how that works out. You’ll be amazed at the results.


Teboho Polanka
Teboho is a Social Worker, Writer and Inspirational Speaker. He is in pursuit of MSc. in Managerial Psychology. Graduates are able to apply psychological principles and methods to tackle challenges in the work environment and provide effective practical solutions. Acting as industrial-organizational psychologists.