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Success Doesn’t Lead to Happiness. Here’s Why:

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If I work as hard as I can and become successful, then I will be happy.” That is the prevalent belief in our society these days. The classic equation adults tell us growing up, success = happiness. If you become successful, then you will be happy. It’s as if none of us deserve to be happy unless we are successful.

This false belief has led people to work years and years to reach “success” only for the sad reality to set in, success doesn’t equal happiness. This carrot and stick approach to happiness results in fleeting, scarce happiness. It adds pressure, stress, and negativity to all the aspects of our life. And in fact, striving for success first actually impedes success.

When I was building my first company, I always said, “I’ll be happy when…” I was pushing off happiness for the attainment of success. I didn’t think I was allowed to be happy. “Why would I be happy if I am not where I want to be?”

“For untold generations, we have been led to believe that happiness orbited around success. That if we work hard enough, we will be successful, and only if we are successful will we become happy. The opposite is true.” – Shawn Achor

This line of thinking eventually led to me burning out, and my business almost collapsing. It was at my lowest point that I started to question this belief. I started to search for another way, because what I was doing wasn’t sustainable. I was letting myself and my team down.

What I found surprised me, and forced me to change my beliefs. I found that the correct equation is the opposite. Happiness isn’t this “nice” thing to have AFTER you are successful. Science has actually proven that happiness precedes success; it fuels success!

In his best selling book, “The Happiness Advantage”, Psychologist & Harvard Professor Shawn Achor, showed through research and science how society’s formula for success is broken. His team found that when someone is happy, or in a positive state of mind, their intelligence rises, their creativity improves, and their business results increase as well!

Achor’s team found that sales teams were 37% better when positive, Doctors were 19% more accurate at diagnoses, and humans in general were 31% more productive!

Once I flipped the equation, and my mindset, I started to focus on my happiness in the now. I started to journal on things I was grateful for, I started to “play” more, I started to meditate and take care of myself.

Not only did this shift make me a lot happier (and healthier), it was the start of my business turning around. Using this mindset, I could face the difficult times with positivity and fortitude. I learned to be happy in the face of difficulty. And the result was me scaling my company to $6 million in 2 years.

“Happiness leads to success in nearly every domain, including work, health, friendship, sociability, creativity and energy.” – Shawn Achor

Mahatma Gandhi worked almost his entire life to free his people from oppression, first in South Africa then India. This was not easy and took decades to accomplish. He dedicated his entire life to the cause and was even incarcerated because of it. Even through this hardship, Gandhi was happy and fulfilled the entire time. In his autobiography, he even mentioned that if he did not accomplish this major goal, he would still be happy.

One could imagine how easy it would have been for him to be miserable and resentful during his journey. Instead, he was peaceful and happy. He maintained this positivity and eventually succeeded in his goal. He changed the course of the world and he used the correct equation to do it.

You can strive for success. You can work hard for success. Just don’t think that success will lead to happiness. There are a lot of depressed millionaires. Focus on being happy in the now. Be proud of where you are and who you are.

You can be happy now and still strive for more. Remember, this will actually make you more successful, it will make you perform better in all aspects of life and you will enjoy the ride so much more. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. Go be happy.

Christian Chasmer empowers entrepreneurs to live their best life so that they can impact the world. At 26 years old, this young entrepreneur has already built two successful companies. Starting in college, he built a franchise from $0 to $1.2 million in annual revenue. He then co-founded the real estate development company, CC Solutions, and grew it to $6 million in revenue in under 2 years. He’s also the author of the #1 best selling book Lose the Limits: Break your limiting beliefs, become a more productive you, achieve everything you want in life. The secret to his success lies in the systems he uses for both his personal life and his businesses.

Life

The 3 Types of Confidence You Need to Know and Understand

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We’ve all heard it before, confidence is everything. Those that seem to have it, have it all. They, themselves, are not necessarily perfect human beings, but they seemingly have the charisma to attract whatever they want in life. (more…)

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3 Simple Tips to Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence for Better Relationships

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Relationships are challenging. They make you examine yourself from all angles, and that can be triggering. For example, have you ever had a friend or significant other say something that sparked an argument instantly—only to find out you misheard what they said in the first place? (more…)

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Life

If You Want to Avoid Failure Once and for All, Ask Yourself These 4 Questions

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You just invested in yourself and in your business. You are taking massive action but the results are just not clicking yet. While everyone is making 10X, 20X, and even 100X ROI on their initial investment, you have made $0 return. Failure is starting to overcast your bright shining positive attitude and you are feeling the pain and shame of it. (more…)

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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