Academic Advice

Success Brings Happiness? Correction: Happiness Brings Success

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 11.28.48 AMOne of the reasons I chose my particular PhD program was because, unlike other schools I visited, the advanced doctoral students did not constantly look like they were about to get hit by a bus. There seemed to be a degree of work-life-balance engrained into the program.

And lo and behold, they might be on to something. Looks like there’s “a more fun” way to be successful:

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, studies happiness, and its relationship to productivity. And it looks like happiness brings success more reliably than success brings happiness. 

In an article by Eric Barker from “Barking Up the Wrong Tree – How to be Awesome at Life.” (Can’t go wrong following a blog with a title like that),  was especially intrigued by Achor’s ideas about social support (and his findings that giving it is even more beneficial than receiving it) and the 20 second rule (making difficult tasks easier to start, e.g. sleeping in your gym clothes so you’re more likely to work out in the morning).

You can also watch Achor’s (hilarious) TED talk below.

Is Achor onto something? Is happiness the key to success rather than vice versa? And how can we apply these ideas to business and academia more effectively?


Feel free to comment below or on the blog’s Facebook Page. 

4 thoughts on “Success Brings Happiness? Correction: Happiness Brings Success”

  1. Nice, Chris. Great TED talk, too. If you haven’t already, check out Dan Gilbert’s TED “The Science of Happiness.”

  2. Wow great TED talk! I catch myself in this paradigm of thinking all the time. Once I do X, I’ll be happy. The problem is, there is always another X to do. I know I need to learn to be happy in the present while still focusing on goals and tasks at hand. It’s not always easy!

    1. Agreed. Part of it is probably human nature – we’ve evolved to always try to achieve the next goal. But just like with other urges of “human nature,” we have to learn to keep it in check!

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