Many people think that being successful will make you happy. But what if it worked the other way around? Harvard psychologist and researcher Shawn Achor posits that it does. His theory is that the definition of success is in constant flux, so that if you equate happiness with success you’ll never find happiness. However, if you can be happy while pursuing success, then you’ll actually be more successful.

As Achor puts it, “We think if we work harder and achieve some entrepreneurial goal, then we’ll be happier. But the research is clear that every time you have a success, your brain changes what success means. So for you and for your team, if happiness is on the opposite side of success, you’ll never get there. But if you increase your levels of happiness in the midst of a challenge—in the midst of searching for investment, in the midst of a down economy—what we find is that all of your success rates rise dramatically – every business outcomes improves.”

To learn more about this theory, watch Achor’s entertaining TED Talk, The Happy Secret to Better Work.

And, read his Harvard Business Review Article, Positive Intelligence. (Note: This link will show a preview of the article; you’ll need to complete the free registration to read the whole article.)

Or, read the Inc Magazine article, Happiness Makes Your Brain Work Better which summarizes Achor’s theory and includes the video of his talk.

Finally, if you need help getting or staying happy, try the Live Happy app for iPhone and iPod Touch. Created by Signal Patterns, a psychology-based web and mobile applications developer, this app claims to be a “…first-of-its-kind mobile happiness-boosting program” that “guides users through a set of daily activities that research indicates can boost both short- and long-term happiness.” It is comprised of 10 tools to help you achieve and maintain happiness. Learn more about it on the Live Happy app page Or, download at the iPhone App Store.

Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I'm the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

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