What Comes First, Happiness or Success?

It’s kind of a chicken and the egg thing.


Of course, you’ll be happier when you succeed at your goal. That  is obvious. The sense of accomplishment, success, self-confidence, and happiness are the natural result of achieving a goal.

But when do they start?

For example too often, many people say, “When I lose those 30 pounds, I’ll be really happy.” That makes sense; after all, the sense of accomplishment, success, and achievement (let alone better health and more pride of appearance) will indeed generate a sense of happiness. But, does it happen the day you reach pound number 30? Maybe it’s at 20? How about 15? Dare I say it, is it one pound?

To be successful, it starts on day one.

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May’s Attitude Index: Some Improvement but Long-Term Pessimism Remains

A Look at the International Inspiration Index for May, 2011

I started the I3 (The International Inspiration Index) is to get a handle on how people are feeling, what’s bothering them, and their outlook for the future. It started in two years ago, in April 2009. By the way, if you would like to take the ongoing I3 survey, go to www.AttitudeIndex.com. Please bookmark it and return every month if possible.

The bottom line?

It was getting kind of scary out there recently with our collective attitudes showing a heavy drop since the beginning of the year. Maybe it’s the results of summer, or just that things are changing, but our attitude rose significantly in May, for the first time since late last year.

Questions #1 #2: How’s your attitude – as well as those around you

The first two questions in the I3 are:

  • How would you rate your attitude?
  • How would you rate the attitude of those around you?

click on image for larger size

It’s interesting that we always rate our own attitude higher than the attitude of those around us. The dotted blue line is our attitude, the red line shows “Others,” those people with whom we interact on a daily basis.  (If you’d like to read an fun, motivational analysis of the repercussions of that, you can follow this link.)

It’s been awhile since we showed a positivity jump like we saw in May.

I personally find it hard to believe it would be due to the killing of Osama Bin Laden, but that’s the only “positive” big news that took place in May, unless one is giddy over the fact that the world did not end as predicted on May 21.

Here are what I considered to be the big stories influencing us during May, 2011

  • Killing bin Laden
  • Midwest floods
  • Debt ceiling battles begin
  • Job gains but unemployment rate goes up
  • Obama’s mid-east speech
  • The Republican presidential field starts to shape up
  • Several “important” men get involved in marital or sexual scandals
  • End of the world on May 21

What is reassuring — at least to me — is that the overall trend of our own attitude, as well as our perception of others’ attitudes, has been positive (solid lines). I had the computer project through the summer and the trend is positive, as you can see from the chart above. The solid lines are the computer’s projections about where we’re headed. Of course, we never know what major events might affect us and change that course.

Question Three: What concerns you?

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Video: What Makes for a Great Place to Live? And What Makes us Happy?

Why do some places have happier people?

A fascinating report on what makes us happy – and where are the happiest places to live. This eight-minute video from CBS news is great to watch. (There is an ad embedded it by them but it’s worth the 30″ wait to get to the story.)

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Hanging Out With a Better Class of People

For the majority of presentations I conduct, I administer an on-line anonymous survey to get a better feel for what’s going on inside the organization.

Question number one is, “On a typical day, how would you rate your attitude?”

Respondents choose from five answers:

  • Extremely upbeat
  • Pretty Good
  • Average
  • Below average
  • Extremely poor

I’ll fess up the fact that it’s not a very scientific question, but neither do you need to work for NASA to answer it. In a nutshell, it’s a fancy way of saying, “How ya’ doin’?”

Out of the thousands who have responded, approximately 79 percent have said that their average-day attitude is “pretty good” or “extremely upbeat.” In effect, that could mean that you — the person reading this — has about an 79 percent chance of saying your attitude (most of the time) falls in one of those two categories. (By the way, only one percent responds “extremely poor.”)

Another way to parse that would be, if we were to ask people to use a one-to-ten scale, with the highest number being “ecstatic,” and the bottom being “suicidal;” the regular person on an ordinary day would say, “It’s about eight.”

Question two rates in the same fashion the attitude of those with whom we interact most often: family members, co-workers, and friends. Here the indicator slides to 52 percent. Using the same interpretation as above, that implies that we feel that, although we’d give ourselves an “eight,” we’d label others a “five.” (Imagine how much it would deteriorate if they didn’t have the pleasure of our charming, upbeat positivity to buoy their sagging moods!)

Finally, question three inquires about, “The attitude of those with whom you come in contact on a daily basis?” That scope involves everyone else we bump into, such as clerks, attendants, or phone reps, in effect the river of population flowing across our paths in a typical 24-hour period.

Using the same measuring scale, we sense that only about 31 percent of “those people” possess a “pretty good” or “extremely upbeat” outlook. To spin that yet one more way, we feel that only about one out of three, or one-third, of everyone we meet has a better-than-average attitude.

YourAttitude

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We’re Getting More Concerned: Our Attitude Lately

A Look at the International Inspiration Index for March and April of 2011

I started the I3 (The International Inspiration Index) is to get a handle on how people are feeling, what’s bothering them, and their outlook for the future. It started in two years ago, in April 2009. By the way, if you would like to take the ongoing I3 survey, go to www.AttitudeIndex.com. Please bookmark it and return every month if possible.

The bottom line?

Over the last few months, we’re getting concerned again. Our collective attitude, although still trending positive, is declining on almost all levels.

Let’s take a look at the last two months to see what I mean.

Questions #1 #2: How’s your attitude – as well as those around you

The first two questions in the I3 are:

  • How would you rate your attitude?
  • How would you rate the attitude of those around you?

[Read more…]

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