Happiness or Success

Usually when happiness is experienced, it follows some type of achievement. We WIN a competition, we CONQUER new love and WORK hard to make it last, we EARN a new dream job, or we PREVAIL through birth to meet our newborn child. These are but a few of the things that make us happy and it would be easy to assume by looking at these examples that happiness occurs as a result of succeeding, right?

Boosting your happiness levels for success

Finding that first burst of happiness in order to make positive goals, and achieve that first level of success, is certainly easier said than done. If you’re starting from rock bottom, it can seem impossible to pull yourself out of the depths, but by being aware of the way in which happy people make decisions and set goals, it is achievable. Here are a few tips on how to gain enough happiness to set you on your path to success:

Fake it, then do it!

Make a conscious choice to choose happiness – even if it’s just temporarily. You may not be able to make yourself happy just from positive thinking, but you can certainly choose to not allow unhappiness to take over your life. If you have a tangible reason for feeling unhappy, don’t just sit there wallowing in it, get up and do something about it! Are you unhappy about your health? Start with just five minutes of exercise a day and build this up when you feel ready.

Are you unhappy because of money issues? Call all your debtors and negotiate payment plans for your debts. Are you facing homelessness? Get on the phone and start calling local services who may be able to help you source Government funded accommodation. There are many instances where this may not work, but as you can see, it’s the little first steps that make all the difference and if you have to fake happiness and enthusiasm to take those first steps, then just do it! The alternative is so much worse.

Seek support

A network of support people is an essential factor for many (if not most) people. By surrounding yourself with people who care about you and your happiness, you are more likely to succeed. These people can buoy you up when you’re feeling unhappy and can encourage you to stay on track and achieve your goals.

See the bigger picture

This doesn’t work for everyone, but many people who are struggling with happiness are able to lift themselves out of it when they hear of people who are either worse off than them (making them think ‘Gee, if that person is going through such a hard time, what have I got to complain about?’), or have been through an ordeal and have come out the other end successfully. By realizing your issues are miniscule in comparison to others’, or being inspired by other people who have had the same issues, you’ll be able to look at your own problem from a different perspective and may just realize your goals are achievable after all.

Don’t expect to achieve the first time, every time

As the old saying goes, ‘Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst’. You won’t always achieve your goals in the time limit or manner you hoped for, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Just start again!

Realize that things will get better

Even those in the deepest, darkest soul-wrenching depths of despair can eventually come out the other side with a smile – it just takes time and effort. If you ever find yourself at your lowest point, there’s one thing that’s for sure – you can only go up from there! The question is – will you choose to stay on the bottom, or will you choose to set small goals to help you climb out of your predicament?

Researchers have found that happy people experience an upward spiral, whereby their happiness causes them to continue to strive for their goals, resulting in even more happiness, which causes them to achieve more goals, and so on. Happiness and positive attitudes are precursors to good decision making and good decision making is usually in our favor, making our goals more positively geared towards our wants and needs; therefore, easier to achieve.

A good example of this would be a person who has decided they’d like to take steps to achieve good health. If an unhappy person makes this decision, they will likely be making it out of a self-loathing and disgust in their usually unhealthy behavior. This may mean they unconsciously set unattainable goals – such as quitting smoking cold turkey or losing a large amount of weight in a short period of time. Goals like this are self-defeating and unhappy people often set them knowing deep down that they will fail, as a way to punish themselves. Of course, they are unlikely to succeed, meaning they are unlikely to find happiness OR achieve success. This can certainly cause a downward spiral into a deeper unhappiness.

On the other hand, a happy person who wants to achieve the same goal of good health will likely be basing their decision on a love for self and in a manner that is beneficial to them. They are less likely to be unkind to themselves, and more likely to set achievable goals – such as weaning themselves off cigarettes slowly or exercising/dieting with good health in mind, but not forcing themselves to achieve unrealistic weight loss goals. Happy people expect themselves to achieve their goals, so they are instantly more driven. With small, manageable goals, they quickly achieve their first successes, which makes them even happier and more determined to reach their next goal.

The Bottomline

We are hardwired into believing that happiness follows success. How many times have you rewarded yourself for hard work, or thought ‘once I do such and such, I’ll be happy’? It’s certainly a prevalent belief and many of us assume that people who gain happiness before working hard for success are spoiled or entitled little rich kids. The truth is though; happiness is an essential factor in building skills that allow us to succeed. That’s right – happiness is both an achievement as the result of success, as well as a precursor to success!

The CFS Team
Helping You Achieve Success

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