Be happy to be brilliant

Be happy to be brilliant

Here at The Happiness Institute we've worked for quite some time now on the basis that happiness, as a primary goal, can motivate and energise people to then do what they need to do to achieve success in other areas of life. What we've called "the primacy of positivity" suggests that happiness is not just nice but it's also inspirational and will assist in so many ways in so many parts of life. 

Which is why we're so pleased every time we see other people saying the same things and reading research that supports our positivity thesis. Check out this recent article from the Sydney Morning Herald in which it's claimed that happiness increases our chances of being brilliant…

by James Adonis

“Thanks for confirming my long-held hypotheses that you know nothing.”

That comment, directed at me recently by a reader of this blog, might be correct. It is indeed possible that I know nothing. And if that’s accepted to be true, it’s worth exploring how this conundrum could be fixed. How does one, if one were so inclined, go about becoming brilliant?

Perhaps the first place to look is the literature. In recent years, two of the most prominent books written on the topic have been Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk, both of which offer similar advice: practice a lot. What makes the best the best is the amount of time they dedicate to honing their craft.

“Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.” So wrote Gladwell while advocating the famous 10,000-hour rule, which quantifies precisely how much effort should be exerted. Shenk concurs: “Talent is not the cause but the result of something,” he writes.

But let’s see what science has to say.

A major experiment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that brain neurons learn and process information more so from successes than from failures. In other words, it’s not the memory of our mistakes that propels us towards greatness, but the minor accomplishments we have along the way. (Granted, the study was conducted on monkeys.)

Focusing on real people was a meta-analysis at the University of California that scrutinised hundreds of studies which collectively revealed that happiness causes success. Many of us, though, wrongly assume that success causes happiness. Concentrate on being content right now, conclude the authors, and rewards such as work performance should show up in the future.

One of the most prolific researchers on personal development is Professor Carol Dweck from Stanford University. Well-known for her work on mindsets, she groups people into two categories. You either have a ‘fixed’ mindset or a ‘growth’ mindset…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE