Summary of Happiness Doesn’t Follow Success

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Which comes first, satisfaction or success? If you’ve been working hard on a goal that you think will bring you happiness, you might want to reverse your strategy, or so say psychology doctoral candidate Lisa C. Walsh and psychology professors Julia K. Boehm and Sonja Lyubomiersky. The three reviewed more than 170 studies, finding that happiness appears to precede success. But don’t worry if you’re not perpetually filled with glee. Happiness isn’t 100% necessary to achieving success: some of history’s most famous depressives have managed to accomplish a few things, too.

About the Authors

Lisa C. Walsh is a psychology doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside. Julia K. Boehm teaches psychology at Chapman University. Sonja Lyubomirsky teaches psychology at the University of California, Riverside and authored The How of Happiness.



Psychology literature defines “happiness” as an emotional state marked by fewer negative emotions and more positive emotions like joy, serenity and excitement.

What is happiness, anyway? It’s described in psychology literature as being defined by emotions like excitement, joy and serenity or a sense of “subjective well-being.” However you define it, it’s marked by a favorable ratio of positive to negative emotions. Many fall prey to the idea that career success, goal achievement and positive events come first, with happiness jogging along behind. But research suggests that happiness might be the front runner that ultimately pulls career success along.

Research suggests that happier employees get better performance reviews, more social support from co-workers&#...

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