3 Ways to Choose Happiness

Bobby McFerrin sang, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” You’re a better leader when you choose happiness and break the glum-leader syndrome.

Should you pursue happiness? No. People who focus on being happy are less happy than people who pursue meaning.

You choose happiness when you pursue well-being.

Choose happiness: happiness is experienced directly but pursued indirectly. Image of a happy seal.

2 kinds of happiness:

Happiness is experienced directly but pursued indirectly.

Aristotle made a distinction between two different kinds of happiness: hedonia and eudaimonia. Hedonic happiness is derived from pleasure. Eudaimonia happiness is derived from seeking virtue and meaning. (Verywell Mind)

You understand eudaimonia in parenting. “Although parents might fall short on moment-to-moment happiness, having kids provides meaning, satisfaction and connection in parents’ lives.” CNBC

Choose happiness: Unhappy leaders lead unhappy teams. Image of masks of emotion.

3 ways to choose happiness:

#1. Choose positive feelings.

A good meal with friends, completing a project, and noticing beauty produce positive feelings.

Tip: Choose happiness by extending forgiveness.

#2. Choose full engagement.

Csikszentmihalyi uses ‘flow’ to explain full engagement.

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times . . . The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

Full-engagement-happiness is losing yourself in something outside yourself.

Tip: Choose happiness by giving your energy to meaningful accomplishment.

#3. Choose meaningful contribution.

“… the single greatest driver of both achievement and well-being is understanding how your daily efforts enhance the life of others.” Tom Rath

Serving people is choosing well-being.

Tip: Choose happiness by “… using your signature strengths in the service of something larger than you are.” Martin Seligman

Why it matters:

Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D. explains that happiness precedes success. You think you’ll be happy after you succeed. In reality, happiness is an important component of achieving success.

Happy people deliver better results. (Shawn Achor)

Happy people are more successful than sad.

How can you choose happiness today?

Breaking the Glum-Leader Syndrome

Why it’s time to stop pursuing happiness