Happiness drives success…not the other way around

Happiness drives success…not the other way around

I just stumbled upon this great letter to the Editor in the Financial Times…

(read the original here)

From Mr John Garrity.

Sir, Lucy Kellaway_ã_s tongue-in-cheek article _ã–Being happy is a serious handicap_㝠(November 8), on the detrimental effects of _ã–EHS_㝠_ã_ Excess Happiness Syndrome _ã_ on society, implicitly touches on a more serious debate over the determinants of success (and subsequently the drivers of employee performance and motivation).

Lucy theorises that it is unhappiness that drives individuals (particularly entrepreneurs) to toil endlessly to achieve great things such as creating Facebook and Twitter, achieving celebrity chef status or building a media conglomerate. However, others, particularly Shawn Achor and his colleagues in the field of positive psychology, have determined that individuals who practise the skills, or possess the traits, of focusing on daily happiness, contentment and positivity, are those who consistently report a higher level of engagement in work (and in their personal lives), resulting in greater on the job performance (and personal life satisfaction).

The devil is in the definition of _ã–success_ã. Sure, let_ã_s enjoy the technological advances and the economic progress born from the fruits of neuroses, but for the vast majority of the rest of us, greater life satisfaction comes from recognising that happiness and contentment today drive our success, not the other way around.

John Garrity