Happiness and Success: A Linear or Circular Relationship?

April 19th, 2013 by Sarah Green Leave a reply »

Are positive people more successful or are successful people more positive?

Within Zircon we work with our clients to identify the critical success factors and differentiators of success for their employees. When discussing success, it is often presumed that success in life stimulates the onset of positivity and happiness; however a recent article written in the Appreciating Change Blog (Lewis, 2013) questioned whether being positive and happy creates success rather than success creating happiness.

Individuals whom experience ‘happiness’ report frequent positive emotions of joy, interest and pride, whilst reporting negative emotions of sadness, anxiety and anger less regularly. Research has found ‘happy people’ demonstrate a 3:1 ratio of time spent in positive compared to negative moods, but why is this so? One possibility is these individuals are more sensitive to rewards within their environment therefore feel more frequent positive emotions.

Benefits of ‘happiness’ or positivity include thinking, feeling and acting in ways which boost resourcefulness and increase the likelihood of reaching our goals. These positive emotions enhance one’s perspective of life, thereby increase time spent socialising, learning new skills, relaxing and conserving energy, and may encourage the sorting of new goals or projects. From an extensive review of 255 papers (Lyubomirksy et al, 2005), ‘feeling good’ was found to be associated with confidence, optimism, feeling capable and sociable, having physical wellbeing and effectively coping with stress and challenges. On the other hand, negative mood states are more likely to promote ‘barrier behaviours’, including the protection of existing resources and the avoidance of being hurt.

Clearly, the benefits of ‘happiness’ and positivity are infinite, but how does this influence success? Lyubomirksy et al (2005) found numerous links, including happy people being more successful at work, in their relationships, experience better health, and set higher goals for themselves. On the basis of this article, it seems most of us could benefit from a bit of positivity and ‘happiness’ in our lives, being a worthwhile investment for both us and our organisation.

The recent Zircon research is looking at the impact of positivity, strengths and values at work. For more information please contact Dr Amanda Potter on 01737 555 862.

Written by Jade Bennett, Trainee Business Psychologist.
Source: http://www.appreciatingchange.co.uk/blog/?p=822

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