Successful multiethnic business colleagues in modern office

Is there a link from happiness to success?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

My father in law has the well earned nickname of ‘Lazarus’.

Last Friday we were clearly told by his doctor he was unlikely to survive the night. Last night (Sunday) he was sitting up in bed enjoying a meal and laughing with us all.

What is it that allows some people to move on from even the most challenging situations and achieve success?


I watched the TED talk ‘The Happiness Advantage’ by Shawn Achor during the week. In his studies he and his team have discovered a direct link from happiness to success. People who are happy inevitably achieve success. Organisations where there is a positive and happy environment find business improves and margins increase. Here is the link to the talk : The Happiness Advantage

Happiness, however, is not something which can be externally created. It is all about the interpretation of the experience of life.

Can actions create happiness?

I was in the Victorian Government treasuring building and held the door open for a small group of women in an attempt to be polite. I was unprepared for the acrimonious response and sharp language from this group who indicated they did not need a man to open doors for them.

I hold open the door for anyone, and it is interesting to note the varying responses from men and women. The response of this group was as a result of seeing my action though a different lens.

It was not the action of holding the door open which caused the response. Even though my action is exactly the same everyone interprets my actions differently and their response is different. It is the interpretation of the action by the individual which creates the response.

No matter what I do to be kind, the response and interpretation to this action is always in the mind of the recipient. Happiness is a decision and it is people who make happy decisions who are successful.

In business and sales creating a positive and happy environment is a vital ingredient. There can be a lot of negative external stimuli which is easy to translate as being ‘I am not interested’. Discovering positive and exciting ways to view the world is probably our most important skill.

My father in law, along with the family, took the diagnosis given by the doctor and created a positive and happy environment. In all the happiness his body seemed to forget he was sick and within a few hours was well on the way to balance. While his cancer is unlikely to leave, his attitude of happiness creates new opportunities for life.

Today’s question and actions

This week try these actions to help increase your level of happiness;

  • When you have a few minutes take a short walk and look for things you may have not seen before
  • Take a few minutes at the end of the day to journal, or re-live one positive thing you experienced during the day
  • Take time to send an email or call someone just to say ‘thank you’ with no expectation of a response.

You will be surprised how much happier you feel. Even more important, how much better you perform as an individual.

Have a great week!

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