If You Want To Be Successful, You Have To Choose Happiness

Updated: April 18, 2024

Did you know that there is a link between success and happiness?

Of course, it is common sense to believe that successful people often lead happy lives.

However, there is also evidence that the reverse is true—that happy people are more likely to succeed in life.

In 2005, a team from the University of California Riverside, led by psychologist Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky, found out through experimental studies that happiness can, in fact, lead to success.

In their experiment, they induced participants with positive and negative moods and compared their behavior in various situations. And what they found out were these:

  • Happy people are not afraid to talk to other people and actually enjoy social interactions. This helps them expand their network easily and potentially connect to someone who can bring them career and business opportunities.
  • People in a good mood can resolve conflicts effectively. They are more open to new ideas and are most likely willing to collaborate rather than compete destructively.
  • When you feel good, you tend to be more creative and productive. You can perform complex tasks better, which certainly helps in finding solutions to the various problems we encounter in life.
  • Happy people have improved self-efficacy. This means they are more confident about their skills and abilities and are not easily discouraged by minor setbacks.

The study has a lot of other interesting findings about the connection between success and happiness. But the list above should be enough to convince you that if you want to increase your chances of being successful in life, then you have to choose to be a positive and happy person.

Choosing Happiness

When you’re faced with a mountain of debt, working in a stressful job that you hate, and barely making ends meet – how can you be happy?

Actually, you can – by choosing to be happy.

According to Professor Lyubomirsky, roughly 40 percent of our happiness is within our control. Several other researchers in positive psychology have reached a similar conclusion: happiness is a choice that anyone can make.

As psychologist William James once said:

The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude.

Ways to Choose Happiness

But how exactly do you choose to be happy?

Here are seven scientifically proven ways:

1. Listen to music.
Listen to upbeat music, especially those with happy and inspirational lyrics. Your mood will slowly elevate.

2. Interact more with positive people.
Have a few minutes of conversation with someone cheerful and happy. You will feel lighter and less stressed.

3. Linger on simple pleasures.
Focus on the positive moments you experience every day, such as the fresh breeze you feel, the satisfying meal you eat, or the thoughtful message you receive from a friend.

4. Learn how to meditate.
University of Wisconsin psychology professor Richard Davidson found in his research that meditation helps shift brain activity toward feelings of happiness and joy.

5. Find a reason to smile.
Look at a picture of your loved ones. Listen to a funny joke. Watch a feel-good movie. There are a lot of ways to make yourself smile and laugh. Do it often.

6. Have a gratitude journal.
Wright State University School of Medicine professor and psychiatrist Randy Sansone found in a study that cultivating thankfulness can increase a person’s well-being.

7. Help others.
There is a lot of scientific research that supports this. One of them is by University of Rochester psychologist Richard Ryan, who says that compassion for others produces a positive emotional effect on the giver.

Be Happy. Be Successful.

A lot of people delay their happiness until they are successful.

They wait until they can achieve their goals before they allow themselves to feel good about life.

They focus on success so much that they permit stress and anxiety to run their lives.

But as written above, you can choose to be happy today regardless of your circumstances – and by doing so, success becomes more possible for you.

So always remember to work hard for your dreams, but never forget to smile.

Works Cited:

  • Gregoire, Carolyn. (2013) This Is Scientific Proof That Happiness Is A Choice. The Huffington Post.
  • Lyubomirsky, S., King, L. & Diener, E. (2005) The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin.
  • Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2010). Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation. Psychiatry (Edgmont)

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  1. Yup I agree. Sometimes we really forget how to be happy in pursuit of the things we want. But we can be happy now and attract success! Thanks for reminding us, Sir Fitz, 🙂

  2. That’s an amazing way to look at success :D. We all focus too much on what would make us happy and forget about actually trying to be happy with what we have!
    I love thinking that being happy can make you successful and not the other way around!

  3. It makes so much sense! What a difference this would make if we can believe and practice this. Remember what the author said, it’s a choice. We make choices everyday anyway, so why can’t choosing to ‘be happy regardless’ be one of them? We could make this world a better place one less grumpy and negative person at a time. Sign me up!

  4. #2 is the most important tip for me. It is easy to surround yourself with negative people and start to head down a “negativity path” that does not really lead you to a successful life!

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