Happiness: Why It’s Your Key to Career Success

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Are you unhappy? You might be hampering your chances of being successful at work. Studies find that happy employees are more productive and successful than those who are not as satisfied with life. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Warwick found happiness resulted in a 12% increase in productivity.

“The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality,” said Dr. Daniel Sgroi, one of the study’s lead researchers.

Happiness comes before success

Shawn Achor, happiness researcher and author of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, says accomplishments don’t truly make us happy. The happiness derived from accomplishments is fleeting. Rather, people who are already happy tend to naturally invite success into their lives. This is because their optimism fuels the motivation to perform at a higher level and achieve more. Achor said:

If success causes happiness, then every employee who gets a promotion, every student who receives an acceptance letter, everyone who has ever accomplished a goal of any kind should be happy. But with each victory, our goalposts of success keep getting pushed further and further out, so that happiness gets pushed over the horizon … More than a decade of groundbreaking research in the fields of positive psychology and neuroscience has proven in no uncertain terms that the relationship between success and happiness works the other way around. Thanks to this cutting-edge science, we now know that happiness is a precursor to success, not merely the result. And that happiness and optimism actually fuel performance and achievement—giving us the competitive edge that I call the Happiness Advantage.

You can boost your own happiness

thinking, positive, happy

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If you don’t feel particularly positive about work or life in general, there are some ways you can increase your level of happiness. One way is through lending a helping hand. You can start by becoming more engaged at work by assisting your co-workers. Helping others can make your work day more meaningful and instill a sense of purpose.

“Another common misconception is that our genetics, our environment, or a combination of the two determine how happy we are. To be sure, both factors have an impact. But one’s general sense of well-being is surprisingly malleable. The habits you cultivate, the way you interact with co-workers, how you think about stress—all these can be managed to increase your happiness and your chances of success,” said Achor.


Make a change if your job is making you miserable

On the other hand, if you tend to be a happy person but your job is turning you into a Grinch, you’ll need to take steps toward remedying the situation before you take out your dissatisfaction on your co-workers or supervisor. Don’t create unnecessary drama at work because you’re unhappy. It isn’t fair to your teammates, and your behavior may get you fired.

“The truth is, there is always a way out of situations that leave us miserable if we’re willing to find it and do the work to make it happen. In the shorter term, there are always things we can do differently to get more enjoyment from our work, however mundane we find it. So if you don’t like your work, just know that whether it’s changing your job, your career, your attitude or your approach, there’s always something you can do,” said leadership advisor Margie Warrell.

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