The Business Case for “Happiness”

So which comes first? Success or “happiness”? It’s ingrained in our American culture that if we work hard, we will become successful and once we are successful, then we will be happy. But is this really true? As we learn more about what really motivates people and how positive emotions influence all facets of our lives we see that this formula is actually backward.

Don’t believe me? Think about it . . . if success brings happiness, then each time we get that new job, new promotion, find that ideal husband, new house, new car or lose that five pounds we would be happy. But often something very different happens. We start thinking that this isn’t enough – we push out the criteria for our happiness even further. We are always waiting, waiting, waiting to really be happy.

So this is what the hard science tells us . . . in the last 10 – 15 years there has been an abundance of research in the area of positive psychology or “happiness”. And the results are clear . . . positive emotions engage and motivate us to stretch, grow and perform at our very best. We see the world clearer, especially the possibilities that we could tap into. And from that foundation of personal confidence, resiliency and creativity, we make ourselves available for opportunity. Success then seems to find us – almost falls in our laps.

So here’s the ROI of happiness . . . People do business with people they know, like and trust. We all like to be around positive, energetic and optimistic friends, family and work colleagues. We even do business with companies that project that positivity – think of highly successful Southwest Airlines. And we have total control over our own emotions – negative and positive. I vote for putting my time and energy into where I’m going to benefit the most and that is in my own “happiness”.

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