Have you ever noticed that successful people are often happy? “Obviously!” You say. “Anyone can be happy if they have the job they want!” But, recent research in the Journal of Career Assessment suggests that it is not the success that brings the happiness, but the happiness that brings the success.

The positive impact of a happy attitude have been chronicled by numerous studies in the field of Posititve Psychology. These studies suggest that not only does this attitude work to promote success, but that we can take an active part in training ourselves to become a happy person. We can do this even if this is not the disposition we were born with.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, at the University of North Carolina, has shown that gaining this attitude is not a matter of being sickening insincere or phony but, actually quite the opposite: she suggests you “be real” while practicing concrete behaviors that lead to results.

Behaviors that Lead to Happiness & Career Success

What are the behaviors that create a mindset where happiness flourishes?

  • Practice Being Open: Having an open mind in life allows us to see all the possibilities in life. When we have a ridged opinion we lose the ability to explore other options and put binders on what we see.
  • Practice Being Appreciative: When we appreciate something, our bodies secrete hormones such as serotonin and we actually biologically feel better or happy. This is true even in such small acts as saying “thank you” to someone or smiling.
  • Mindfulness: Discover what brings you alive and practice this daily. This is the “In the flow” state that athletes speak about or “the peaceful state” that people who do daily spiritual practices talk about. Depending on who you are, it can be dancing, walking on the beach or gardening. When we invest in things that allow us to be mindful, we are investing in creating more happiness in our lives.

Like building any new skill or increasing an existing one, increasing your happiness will take some time to get into the habit. But, unlike building most other skills, success is almost immediate. Try it yourself. Take the happiness challenge and commit to writing 3 positive things you notice in your life daily by practicing any of these behaviors. Keep me posted on your results.