Is Happiness the Key to be Successful or Vice Versa?

Is Happiness the Key to be Successful or Vice Versa?

Is happiness the key to be successful or is success the key to be happy? It probably depends on who you ask this question. If you ask me, I say happiness comes first. But if you would have asked my Dad he would have said success is the main thing.

The mother of my father had to raise 6 children on her own during the crisis of the 30s because my grandfather died young. So my father had a job from age 12.

He was determined to study and work himself up to a better position. He went to night school and became a very skilled metalworker. During World War II he was imprisoned in an Arbeitslager in Germany. My father always claimed this hadn’t been too bad because he found refuge in his profession and could perfect his skill there.

Given his history, it was understandable why my dad valued working hard and being successful more than being happy.

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Is happiness the key to be successful?

Despite what you would think, it’s better to focus on happiness first. Success will come after that. Lots of successful people are not happy at all because they focus on values that in the end don’t satisfy them.

Are success and happiness connected?

happiness fuels success.
My Dad (seen on his back) explaining his profession during an Open House

People simplify happiness, claiming that successful people must be happy. However, if you interviewed 100 successful people, you might be surprised that a large percentage of them are not as happy as you think they ought to be.

The fact is, you can be a millionaire, have a wonderful spouse, great kids, and everything you think you want and still not be happy. I am convinced it is the other way around: happiness fuels success.

Happy people are strong and self-assured

Some people are quick to blame others when something in their life disappoints them. Playing Victim does not help anyone. For happy people there is no need to hand over the responsibility for their own life into someone else’s hands. 

Related: How to Have a Healthy Lifestyle that Contributes to Longevity?

Happiness leads to more productivity

Free the ocean of plastic
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When people are happy with the work they do, they tend to be willing to do it a lot more, even for free. The most mundane of tasks can be made fulfilling by a happy person if all of their other needs (food, shelter, health) are met because they are focused on the outcome instead of just the process.

Related: How to Increase Longevity Sustainably? This is the Forgotten Ingredient

Happy people are well balanced

When people are happy, they tend to be a lot more stable, stick to tasks longer, and are more likely to complete an assignment. Furthermore, they are less likely to switch jobs. This is one reason smart employers know that by making work a happy place they can reduce job-hopping. 

Feeling happy is not about wealth

Happiness is not about getting all you want, it is about enjoying all you have

Everyone knows someone who has plenty of money but is not happy and maybe even hateful. They seem to have everything but happiness. Because of this, it’s clear that being happy doesn’t always directly correlate to the circumstances you find yourself in regarding your bank account balance. 

Being happy leads to higher profits

In companies that keep their employees happy by offering a decent wage, benefits, and a flexible schedule the profits tend to be a lot higher. One reason is that when a person feels respected in their job even if the work is hard, they are happier about doing it.

Happiness leads to a higher work ethic

Despite the common perception that work ethic is something one must suffer to attain, happy people tend to stick with their jobs longer and work even harder. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that they have more energy and can visualize outcomes more clearly.

Being happy colors the lens by which you see life

Success and happiness seen through pink glasses

Happiness has the astonishing effect of changing how you see the world once you practice it regularly. You’ll be able to pick out the most positive things no matter the circumstances.

Happiness is about today

If you’re happy today, you’re more likely to eat right, move more, get your work done, and do everything well. Naturally, that is going to affect your future as well.

Decide to be happy

It might be hard to imagine this to be true, but happiness is about your mindset. Thankfully, with work, you can train your mind to be happier and more positive despite your current circumstances. Some key points that can set you on your way to more happiness are the following.

Related: Make a Daily Intention – Happiness is Living on Purpose

Be generous

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Spending time, energy and money on other people make you feel good. In fact it will make you feel better than when you spend these resources on yourself.

My son always asks what he or she would like for groceries when he sees a beggar at the entrance of the supermarket. If you want to give to a homeless person but are afraid they will spend money on booze or other drugs, buying groceries is a great alternative.

Reduce what you have

We own too much stuff. Does it ever happen to you that a new sweater never leaves the shelf of the cupboard before ending up in the secondhand-shop-bag? It happened to me!

Reducing a lot of our stuff when we made plans to emigrate made a lot of room. Literally, but certainly emotionally.

Smile, even to strangers

Be generous

Smiling and laughing releases endorphins and makes you feel happier. Even when you don’t feel like smiling, pulling your cheek muscles up like you are quietly laughing helps.

Related: 10 Remarkable Health Benefits of Laughing and a Sense of Humor

Ask questions and listen

How often are we just anxious to start telling our own story when we listen to a friend or an acquaintance? Asking questions and really listening to the answers will give both of you a better feeling and makes you wiser at the same time.

Be grateful

Being satisfied with what you have is an art in itself. Of course we all try to be better than we were the day before. Despite that, it is important to be content with the present.

Related: Why Should we be Grateful for Health and Relations? 9 Benefits

Multitasking is counterproductive

I was convinced that multitasking was a useful activity until someone put me to the test. Since then, when someone remarks ‘only women can multitask, men cannot’, I call out that no one can do it.

Happiness: family

Being chaotic doesn’t promote your happiness. When you are systematic, it does make you happy, because it gives you the feeling that you are in control.

Invest time in your family and friends

Quality time spent on your loved ones, makes everybody happy. For some quality time means dining together, others want to discuss all kinds of things, and some love playing board games. The exact interpretation may be different, but the end result is the same.

Related: Avoid Loneliness. How to Make Friends When you are Older?


Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
~Albert Schweitzer

Is happiness the key to be successful?

Yes, bad things do happen to good people and can bring them down. However, the truth is, happiness can be experienced by almost anyone regardless of where they are in life right now in terms of their success. 

It just requires you to accept that you can be happy, right now, without anything changing. Whereat the same time you can develop plans to make changes.

Do you have more tips on how we can purposefully be happy? Tell us in the comment box below.

Infographic ONE hour before breakfast

2 thoughts on “Is Happiness the Key to be Successful or Vice Versa?”

  1. Excellent and helpful, Hannie. I would add that having a purpose will bring happiness. If not, then it will keep sadness at bay while making your life meaningful – and the world just a little better.

    • Yes! You’re so right. Great addition, Michael, thanks <3
      Having a purpose is not age-related either. At all times we can pursue a higher goal that makes us happier, not only ourselves but also our environment.

      You are also a real family person and in the happiness of our children and grandchildren we can achieve a lot of purpose as well, don't you think?

      Thanks for commenting and take care.


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