Which comes first: Happiness or Success?

Which comes first: Happiness or Success?

Early in January we shared with everyone that as a team we like to set personal and team goals. Rather than the typical “New Years Resolution” we choose One Word to focus on in our personal and professional lives. If you haven’t had a chance to read the blog, Click here to check it out!

Well, here we are almost half way through 2017 and we wonder how everyone is doing with their goals. One way that the 12 Oaks Dental team achieves personal growth throughout the year is to read! Right now, as a group, we are reading The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. In the book Shawn asks “Which comes first: Happiness or Success?” So often we tell ourselves things like “If I could just get that promotion, I’ll be happy.” or “If I could just lose the weight, I’ll be happy.” but once the goal is reached, are we actually happy? Or, do we move on to the next thing we want achieve. In a blog written by Shawn he says:

“Now for the good news. Based on the findings in The Happiness Advantage: if you reverse the order of the formula, you end up with greater happiness and greater success rates. Happiness is an advantage, and the precursor to greater success. In every single relationship, business, and educational outcome improves when the brain is positive first. If you cultivate happiness while in the midst of your struggles, work, at school, while unemployed or single, you increase your chances of attaining all the goals you are pursuing…including happiness.”

How to put Happiness before Success

Who couldn’t use more happiness?! Shawn Anchor advised his Harvard student to stop equating the future with happiness. Success does not mean happiness. Happiness is a work ethic. He suggests that you try the 21 day challenge. The challenge is to pick one of these five researched habits and try it out for 21 days in a row to create a positive habit.

1. Write down three new things you are grateful for each day into a blank word document. Research shows this will significantly improve your optimism even 6 months later, and raises your success rates significantly.

2. Write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours. This is a strategy to help transform you from a task-based thinker, to a meaning based thinker who scans the world for meaning instead of endless to-dos. This dramatically increases work happiness.

3. Exercise for 10 minutes a day. This trains your brain to believe your behavior matters, which causes a cascade of success throughout the rest of the day.

4. Meditate for 2 minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out. This will help you undo the negative effects of multitasking. Research shows you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time. It also decreases stress and raises happiness.

5. Write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team. This significantly increases your feeling of social support, which in my study at Harvard was the largest predictor of happiness for the students.

Try it!! What the worst that could happen? We hope you will share with us your story of triumph!

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