The human mind is an interesting puzzle. Just when we think we know how it works, a new study comes along and causes us to rethink long-held beliefs. Take happiness, for example. Is there a link between it and success? Absolutely. But just what is that link?
It stands to reason that successful people are happy. The general thinking is that success breeds happiness. If you set goals and reach them, you will be happy as a result. Yet some of the most unhappy people in the world are those we would consider the most successful. So perhaps it’s the other way around.
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Maybe success doesn’t bring happiness. Perhaps happy people are more successful due to some intrinsic quality of happiness. That sounds good, but there are plenty of people we would not consider highly successful who are still generally happy. So now we are back to square one. Where do we go from here?
It Works Both Ways
It turns out that the link between success and happiness isn’t a one-way street. It works both ways. Numerous studies, including one from the University of California, Riverside, demonstrate as much. Success does bring happiness to a certain degree. Yet happiness also tends to lead to a greater level of success.
This makes sense when you stop and think about it. Let’s say you establish some sort of goal for yourself. You work hard to achieve it. Once achieved, you are happy about your accomplishment. This motivates you to set more goals for the future. Every achieved goal represents another opportunity to be happy.
Because you are happy with what you have achieved, you decide to keep doing the things that make you happy. Thus, you achieve more successes along the way. Essentially, you end up with an ongoing cycle of setting goals and achieving them, finding happiness in your success, and then being motivated by that happiness to repeat the cycle.
A Chicken and Egg Scenario
Research has revealed that the link between success and happiness goes in both directions. But still, we are left with a chicken and egg scenario. If a person is both unhappy and unsuccessful, which of the two should be pursued first? Research still hasn’t answered that question.
There are some people who just will not be happy until they start reaching their goals. There are others who will not be able to pursue their goals until they experience some level of happiness. The thing is that people have different perceptions of both. What brings you happiness and makes you feel successful will differ from your neighbor’s perceptions of success and happiness.
Figuring out where to start may be a matter of first coming to an understanding of who you are. Understanding yourself lays the groundwork for figuring out how to succeed and be happy. For many people, understanding oneself begins with professional counseling. In Westchester County, NY, people might seek out the services of Relationships & More.
The Relationships & More staff say that talking things out is essential to understanding yourself. Verbalizing thoughts and feelings get the ball rolling. And once it’s rolling, wise input from a skilled counselor can open the door to a whole new level of understanding.
There is definitely a link between success and happiness. It is not fully understood in terms of cause and effect, but the link exists, nonetheless. If you are struggling with either reality, know that one probably influences the other. Try working on whichever one seems to be more lacking. You just might find that both improve over time.