Happiness, Harvard, & Achieving True Success

“What does a Harvard student possibly have to be unhappy about?” You’ve probably asked or have been asked this type of question at some point. I know I sure have (said in Will Ferrell Harry Caray voice)! The funny thing is that our external world is NOT predictive of our happiness level! We assume that if we make more money, have a better title, receive more accolades, then we will be happier, but in reality, only 10% of long term happiness is attributed to these external factors. TEN PERCENT! The other 90% of long term happiness is dictated by the way the brain processes the world. So when a good friend and informal life coach (hi Kasey!) pointed me to “The Happiness Advantage” TED Talk below, I was excited to see what advice Shawn Achor had for finding happiness outside of achieving success and reaching goals. Take a look…

If you’re short on time, here are my favorite takeaways from the video:

  • Only 25% of job successes are predicted by IQ, while the other 75% are predicted by optimism level, social support, and ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.
  • Most people have “sickness weeks” instead of “wellness weeks” and only talk about the negatives, not the positives! Remember, “The absence of disease is not health.” Focus on ways to stay happy, healthy, and positive, instead of only what to do when you’ve slipped.
  • “If I work harder I’ll be more successful. If I’m more successful, I’ll be happier.” But wait! The definition of success is always moving up to a higher goal as you accomplish more! If happiness = success, there’s a good chance you’ll never be happy.

Finally, my favorite piece of advice: becoming positive in the present will allow your brain to be more successful! Here are some ways you can actively move towards being more positive (and thus, more successful):

  • 3 Gratitudes
  • Journaling
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Random Acts of Kindness

One thought on “Happiness, Harvard, & Achieving True Success

  1. Pingback: Happy Thanksgiving! | The Always Bright Life

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