What Came First: Happiness or Success?

This is the undying question many leaders in today’s workforce are beginning to ask. As children, we are taught to strive for success. But what does success mean? How do you define it? According to, success is defined as the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; or more simply put – the accomplishment of one’s goals.

No matter how you define success, employees in today’s workforce are striving for it. As important as success may seem, some individuals are beginning to realize focusing on success and work ethic may not be as beneficial as focusing on positive thinking. Recent studies have found something incredible – happiness and positivity can actually impact how successful you are!

We can all agree we have suffered from the Monday Morning Blues. However, Mondays, or any other workday for that matter, don’t have to be the root of all evil! With a little positive thinking, your dreary work week can transform into productive positivity! Research on the effects of positive thinking and work performance has been on the rise. Most noted for her research in this area of study, Barbara Frederickson, from the University of North Carolina, can help us see why positive thinking is worth a shot. To learn more about the experiment Frederickson conducted, visit James Clear’s journal on Behavioral Psychology.

Frederickson’s research brought a few conclusions. First, positive thinking is a lot more important than most of us realize. Positive thinking increases brain activity and productivity. Second, when you use positive thinking, the probability to create and sustain new skills increases. When you think positively, you are more open-minded and willing to take chances on new opportunities. With new skills and openness to change, positive thinking contributes to your success!

So how do we turn our negative thoughts into positive thinking? In James Clear’s article, he provides us with three ways we can make positive thinking a part of our daily life.

1. Write a journal. A gratitude journal is not your average diary. Simply write one thing you are grateful for each day. Before you know it, you will see all the reasons your life is great – and the positive thoughts will come at you from all directions!

2. Meditate. Meditation relaxes the mind, body, and soul. Through meditation, you can let go of the stressors in life and center your mind on the positive things happening. After meditating, positive thinking will come much easier.

3. Play. Work hard, play hard. If all you focus on is work, stress and negativity are inevitable. Giving yourself time to do things you enjoy with the people you love will bring positivity back into your life!

Positive thinking helps build new skills and broadens your horizons. The more skills you attain, the easier your success will come. The next time you are feeling unsuccessful at work or in your personal life, take a minute to reflect on your attitude. Are you lethargic and negative? Take time to adjust your mindset and bring positivity back into your life! If you’re thirsty for success, remember Frederickson’s findings. Embrace positive thinking and simply ask yourself: what came first – happiness or success?

Kaitlyn GrashornKaitlyn Grashorn
Kaitlyn joined AurStaff in April 2015 following her internship in the Training Department at C&A Industries. She started as an Operations Assistant and now is a Recruiter. She enjoys meeting candidates and helping them find a position where they can grow and learn new skills. Outside of work, she loves teaching dance at Acapriccio Dance Company, working out, and spending time with friends and family.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *