How to Practice Happiness As a Habit

To truly be happier, we need to redefine what success means says Neil Pasricha, author of The Book of Awesome and The Happiness Equation

Written by PROFIT Staff

In 2010, Toronto writer Neil Pasricha transformed his relentlessly upbeat blog, 1,000 Awesome Things, into the New York Times bestseller The Book of Awesome. Now the Queen’s University grad and Harvard Business School alum has unveiled a followup, The Happiness Equation.

Pasricha’s new book promises to help readers “want nothing, do anything, and have everything,” with advice on time management, career advancement, relationship-building and more. Canadian Business reporter Sissi Wang recently talked to Pasricha about the importance of happiness, what true success looks like, and why you should never truly retire.

Here are four insights from Pasricha that will help you practice happiness like any other habit. You can read the conversation in full here.

On unhappy successful people

“I think there’s a myth out there that you do great work, then you have big success, and then you’re happy. That’s the happiness model we’re all taught from a young age. Study really hard, get good grades, then€¦you’re happy! Or work really hard, get a promotion, then€¦you’re happy! But it turns out that model is totally backwards. You actually need to be happy first, and then you do great work, and then you have big successes. Harvard Business Review reports that happy people are 31% more productive, have 37% higher sales, three times more creative, and 40% more likely to get a promotion in the next year.”

On investing in happiness

“The truth is we don’t invest in our happiness the way we invest in, say, going to the gym. Most of us have a gym membership or go for morning runs or something similar, but we’re not yet thinking the same way about our mental workouts. We don’t say €˜I need to do my 20 minutes of meditation today, say my five gratitudes at the dinner table, or journal about a positive experience I had.’ Yet we know all of those things cause massive increases in our happiness!”

On motivators

“Study after study has been done that shows when we’re presented with extrinsic motivators—a performance evaluation, a stats counter, a grade at the end off a class—these motivators actually become shiny objects that conceal our own intrinsic reasons for doing it€¦ My point is to do it for you. Because when you’re doing it for your own reasons, you actually get better work done.”

On retirement:

“When you’re through changing, you’re through. The healthiest and longest living cultures in the world don’t have a word for retirement. For stopping work completely. Because the truth is work gives us so much.”

For more from Pasricha, including the four benefits of work and The Success Triangle model, click here.


Do you agree with Parischa? What do you do to stay happy? Let us know by commenting below.

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