I recently started reading a book called “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor and I wanted to share some thoughts I had around what I have read so far. It is apparent in our society that we are focused on wealth and looks and being successful, so much so, that we often put our success above our happiness. We think that “If I can just grind it out now so that I am successful later, I will be happy when I am successful”. The basic idea thus far in the book is that this thinking is backward because our brains perform better when we are happy as compared to neutral or stressed. So, if we can be happy we are more likely to be successful. I feel like that is almost common sense and something with which most people would agree but the trap of striving so hard to be successful that you forget to be happy is so easy to fall into. I find myself, especially recently, striving so hard to achieve my goals and dreams that I forget to enjoy the goals I have achieved, the dreams that I am currently living and just be happy. I get so focused on where I want to be in one aspect or another of my life that I end up feeling depressed about where I am currently instead of enjoying the journey.
So, with this thoughtful Thursday, I am going to challenge myself and anyone who reads this to focus more on being happy and let that work to your advantage. Let loose of the idea that once you are successful or rich or (insert here, the expectation you have of your life that isn’t reality which is keeping you from being happy) and start striving to be happy. Stealing a phrase from Shawn Acor don’t “push happiness beyond the cognitive horizon”. Be happy now. And I don’t mean that in a, “hey just forget about your problems and everything will be peachy” kind of way. I don’t mean that in a just “be happy” because you choose to be happy kind of way. I mean it in a start focusing on the things that make you happy, start putting more effort in the areas of your life that bring you joy and put a little less focus on the things you do just to hopefully someday be successful. Make the changes necessary to start gearing your life toward being happy instead of just being “successful”. I don’t expect it will be super easy or that it will mean you will suddenly become successful but I do expect you will be a little happier.
I’d be interested to hear others thoughts and experiences with this so please comment below!