C'mon, get happy—or not?

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I always thought that being successful could make you happy, but now it appears, according to a study from the American Psychological Association, it's really the other way around:


    From a review of 225 studies in the current issue of Psychological Bulletin, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), lead author Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., of the University of California, Riverside found that chronically happy people are in general more successful across many life domains than less happy people and their happiness is in large part a consequence of their positive emotions rather than vice versa. Happy people are more likely to achieve favorable life circumstances, said Dr. Lyubomirsky, and "this may be because happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to be more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources. When people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic, and energetic and others find them likable and sociable. Happy people are thus able to benefit from these perceptions.


Hmm, this sounds a bit to me like happiness is perceived as extroversion (i.e., likable and sociable), so maybe it's not happiness that really leads to success, but appearing to be extroverted. Which brings me back to this post about the qualities of extroversion and introversion. If this line of reasoning follows, then introverts are perceived to be depressed, which, according to a timesonline article, means:


    Another potential drawback of consistent happiness was the danger that happy people could slip into hedonism or inappropriate risk taking. The authors noted that mildly depressed people were most likely to excel in jobs such as monitoring a nuclear power plant, where constant vigilance for possible problems was essential.


So meeting planners, who also must maintain constant vigilance for potential problems, probably need to be perceived as having a mix of introversion and extroversion, happiness and mild depression, to both do the job and get ahead. Huh?? If you can make sense of all this, you're a better person than I! Or maybe just a happier one?


For a semi-related post, check out Soulful Work Is About A Revolution from The Alchemy of Soulful Work (which is a terrific read).

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