Q. What do most want from life?
A. To be happy and successful.
Q. What should you do to achieve this?
A. Work hard, to achieve success, then feel happy.
The A-Level student knows they will be happy when they get into Medical School. The medical student will be happy when they graduate. The foundation doctor wants a good specialist training place. The specialist trainee will be happy when they complete training and find a permanent job. The GP/Consultant thinks they will be happy when they have saved enough money for early retirement….
Delayed gratification is certainly an essential part of the toolkit needed to achieve success. But, like me, you have probably learnt that there is more to actually being happy.
The obvious problem with the approach above is that happiness is all too often replaced by the next challenge. It is always in the future, when where we live is the present.
Evidence from the field of behavioural psychology suggests that this conventional wisdom about how to find happiness has even deeper flaws. And that the relationship between work, success and happiness is more complex than our instinctive, socially conditioned first thoughts might imply.
Shawn Achor, a Harvard Lecturer and psychologist, suggests in his book “The Happiness Advantage”, that the relationship between work, success and happiness actually runs in the opposite directions.
“People are smarter, more effective and resilient when they are happy”