We will all likely judge the meaning of happiness and success somewhat differently. Happiness is a very individual feeling. Studies provide evidence that happy, full lives are derived far more from lives that are engaged and meaningful. Success will likely be based on achieving what matters most to you, individually and authentically. That means accomplishing things you really want to, and in a way that is true to yourself.
The path taken in the pursuit of happiness and success may be based a little on luck, but also on hard work (think Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule in his book Outliers). However, it will also be dependent upon our values and behavior. Every day we read examples of people once thought to have been happy and successful but who fell prey to a loss or lack of values. Bad behavior ensues, ultimately leading to failure and a very sad ending. Liars, thieves, cheats, bullies, or self-serving people—an adult playground tragedy. Scandals ensue like Bernie Madoff, Kenneth Lay of Enron, Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner and many others. Some get their act together and recover. Others do not.
Many fall victim to the environment they are in. Behavior can be contagious. A famous MIT professor, Kurt Lewin, derived an equation B= f [P, E], where behavior is a function of the person and his or her environment which could also be considered partly as a result of our DNA or natural personal tendencies and partly a result of what environment we are in. Many of us may have experienced this growing up. Parents try to prevent their children from hanging out in environments filled with “the wrong types” (in their eyes)!
With respect to Happiness and Success, six key values comprised of Cooperation, Consideration, Compassion, Courtesy, Respect and Responsibility are all important. There are over 100,000 books available on Amazon alone. Over 48,000 on Cooperation, 25,000 on Responsibility, 25,000 on Active Listening (Consideration), 10,000 on Respect, 6,000 on Courtesy and 5,000 on Compassion.
The Work-Life Equation focuses on all six values or behaviors, takes an 80/20 approach, hones in on three key themes and three key areas to focus on to help improve. It also provides a simple self-assessment and questionnaire to gain input and assess the values that may need attention.
Count every day and remember, every day counts! Live each day with self-awareness and a willingness to make yourself a better person. With that, and the help of a mentor or coach, focus on those behaviors and values that you think really matter. Don’t hide from reality, or you will just be cheating yourself.
We do not change easily or overnight. It takes time, willpower and effort. I learned a lot about myself during the process of writing this book. I found areas I am strong at, but, more importantly, got a better sense of areas I am bad at! I confess that I am weak on several of these values, but I am working hard to improve. For me, that means being better at “shutting up and listening,” probing more carefully, and being more selfless. I focus on breathing exercises to slow down, de-stress and focus better. I am also trying hard to be more accommodating to others and to cultivate compassion in my daily life.
Whatever your age, it’s never too late. Remember that this can be applied to you, a friend, another individual, a team or an organization.
Finally, remember the simple formula: H, S = f [4C, 2R]. Happiness and Success are a function of Cooperation, Consideration, Compassion, Courtesy, Respect and Responsibility.
“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”
“Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.” – Dalai Lama XIV