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How to Use Happiness to Your Advantage

July 15, 2019 / by Dawn Butler

I’ve got something to share with you, and it might blow your mind: Happiness is not a result of success. Success is a result of happiness. 

That means that so many of the messages we have received about what brings happiness (money, stability, etc) are backwards. It’s true, folks: Success comes about because of happiness, not the other way around. 

Because science. 

Harvard Psychology professor Shawn Achor says so, and he ought to know. He’s been studying happiness for over a decade, and has found the following things to be measurable and true: 

  • Success is a moving target, so tying success to happiness results in fleeting happiness. 

  • People are more successful if they are happy at work, can have a positive impact on others, and are socially connected to others. 

  • What's going on in your life — from health, to money, to relationships, to prestige — predicts only about 10% of your happiness. 

  • Happier people view obstacles as challenges to overcome, rather than as threats. 

  • The habits you cultivate, the way you interact with coworkers, how you think about stress—all these can be managed to increase your happiness and your chances of success. 

Achor says that there are no grand gestures in this work, rather, it’s the small changes that are made over time that can increase levels of dopamine (the feel-good chemical) in our brains. Two minutes of meditation, 15 minutes of cardio, and small but conscious acts of kindness are all ways to give your brain the lift it needs to change its lens from negative to positive.  

Topics: Class Culture, Coaching

Dawn Butler

Written by Dawn Butler

Dawn Butler, a senior member of our Curriculum and Instruction team, has been with Learners Edge for 9 years. She taught secondary English for 11 years, was raised by a family of teachers and married into a family of teachers, so education is truly part of her DNA. When she is not creating courses and content, she loves to read, garden, learn, craft, and go to local breweries and distilleries. She lives in Mendota Heights, MN with her teacher husband, her 8 year-old son, and 5 year-old daughter, 3 cats, and a dog- all 4 rescue animals.

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