Following our article about Shawn Achor and choosing to be happy, it seems that happiness is a good thing to focus on in January; at 10Eighty our motto is “work hard, do good and along the way have fun”.
Dr. Raj Raghunathan is a visiting professor of marketing at the Indian School of Business (ISB) and professor of marketing at the McCombs school of business at The University of Texas at Austin. A trip to India with a group of MBA students set him thinking about a couple of things he had noticed when meeting up with old college friends:
- There is very little correlation between academic success and career success;
- and an even lower correlation between career success and what you might call life success.
He wondered about the purpose of education, concluding that the ultimate purpose of education is to give students the tools and the skill sets required to lead a happy and fulfilling life, and of course to help other people do the same.
Among Dr. Raj’s findings:
- The correlation between wealth and happiness is much smaller than you’d expect it to be
- Generosity is not only a key to happiness, but a determining factor of long term success
- Appreciating uncertainty, rather than seeking full control of outcomes, is necessary for happiness
He’s on YouTube talking about his latest book If You’re So Smart, Why aren’t You Happy?
What does it take to be happy?
Philosophers and psychologists have been working on this problem for centuries. Famously, Bhutan is the only country in the world to systematically measure GNH. Happy people are healthier and more compassionate, they also more productive which means that happier countries are likely to be more productive than their less happy counterparts, so you’d think we’d all be measuring the happiness of our societies.
Philosophers say happiness can be understood as the moral goal of life or as an aspect of chance; as either a state of mind, or a life that goes well for the person leading it. Plato asserts that those who are moral are the only ones who may be truly happy.
Positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
Greater Good in Action offer an overview of findings around happiness.
- Happiness is good for our health: happy people are less likely to get sick, and h live longer.
- Happiness is good for our relationships: happy people are more likely to get married and have fulfilling marriages, and they have more friends.
- Happy people make more money and are more productive at work.
- Happy people are more generous.
- Happy people cope better with stress and trauma.
- Happy people are more creative and are better able to see the big picture.
Remember, happiness makes people successful, rather than the other way around and happiness is within our control.