In one form or another we have all wondered that the key to success really is and while it may seem that the answer will be tough, a Stanford researcher has proven otherwise.
Emma Seppala, Stanford researcher and author of the book The Happiness Track has penned her experience of achieving success and it couldn’t be simpler.
“After working in many high-achieving environments… I noticed too many people pursuing ‘success’ at a cost to themselves,” she wrote. “They were postponing their happiness now in pursuit of success… with the idea that, when they attain success, they will be happy. Yet they were burning themselves (and others) out in the process.”
Seppala explained how we postpone our happiness in the pursuit of success and why that isn’t necessary. According to her, by paying attention to our own happiness now, we will actually become more productive and creative thus accelerating our success.
“When I looked at the research,” she wrote, “I saw that –overwhelmingly — happiness is actually the secret to success. If you prioritize your happiness, you will actually be more productive, more creative, more resilient, more energized, more charismatic and influential. You will have more willpower and be more focused, with less effort.”
Seppala is not alone in her theory. Harvard researcher and author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor argues that happiness brings us more success as well.
The burning question is: How do I become happy now?
Seppala’s answer is simple: Be nice to yourself. Treat yourself with the same level of kindness and compassion you would treat a friend.
According to Seppala, research has “shown the immense power of self-compassion and compassion not only for our personal well-being but for our work life,” she wrote. “Self-criticism is basically self-sabotage whereas self-compassion — treating yourself with the understanding, mindfulness, and kindness with which you would treat a friend — leads to far greater resilience, productivity, and well-being.”
Seppala suggests some tips that will lead to a higher level of self-compassion, and inevitably, happiness:
1) Notice the way you speak to yourself. If you make a mistake, don’t be hard on yourself. Instead, acknowledge the moment of absentmindedness, and tell yourself it is okay.
2) Write yourself a letter. While this may feel strange at first, writing yourself a letter when you’re feeling overwhelmed, will help you keep things in perspective. Write the letter in a way as you would write to a friend.
3) Develop a phrase which exhibits self-compassion. Dr Kristin Neff, a self-compassion researcher, uses this: “This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment; may I give myself the compassion I need.”
4) Make a gratitude list daily. Note five things you’re grateful for every day, making it easier to focus on the positive.