According to a poll taken by Gallup released in 2017, 85% of the world’s working population hated where they worked and the people they worked with.  Assuming the average person strives for success; why are we so unhappy with where we work, and how can we change it?

What is Success?

Merriam-Webster defines “success” as getting or achieving wealth, respect, and/or fame.  This definition of success ignores that 90% of people surveyed by Gallup believe that happiness is more important than wealth when it comes to work-place success.  Gallup’s survey shows a clear change in the way people approach success in their professional and personal lives compared to generations before. It is easy to overlook your own happiness in your daily work life, especially when perks and incentives to stay loyal are offered, but your mind can only be tricked by those incentives for so long before you realize they are meaningless.

Reverse the “Success creates Happiness” formula

In modern society, there is a saying that teaches “with hard work comes success, and with success comes happiness.”  Let’s break this down, working hard is a fundamental skill that does not come naturally to all, and why work hard if you do not enjoy the work you are doing? Without working hard, how do you achieve success? Psychologist, Shawn Achor said “If happiness is on the other side of success, then your brain will never get there”. 90% of your happiness comes from the way your brain processes the world, Achor believes when you focus on your happiness first, success will follow quickly. We need to train our brains to overcome this antiquated saying and as Achor states, put happiness first!

Train your Brain

Professionals across all industries have proven to be more productive and efficient when thinking in a positive mindset rather than a negative or neutral one.  With news and media highlighting the negatives around us, we have been rewired to scan the world for negativity.  Here are a few helpful tips you can use to train your brain to think positively! These tips will work for yourself, your family, or even your professional team.

  1. Write down 3 things you are grateful for every day for a month.

    The idea behind this exercise is to think of three new things every day, forcing you to observe the positive aspects in your life! Something as small or silly as a driver letting you merge in on your drive to work or a smile from a stranger on the street.

  2. A positivity journal!

    When something positive happens that makes a big impact, write it down in detail so your mind can relive the experience, try to set a goal for once every 24 hours.  When you are feeling neutral or negative, you can read your entries in the journal to smile a little and even enhance your mood.

  3. Random acts of kindness. 

    By going out of your way to help someone else or make someone else smile, you open your mind to positivity.  These acts do not have to be huge gestures that save the day, you can send an email to a colleague or someone in your network thanking them for being a great team member.  Reach out to an old friend letting them know you miss them and talk about great experiences you’ve had with them.

  4. Positive people! 

    Training your brain isn’t going to be an overnight switch, it takes time and effort. Having a good support team is the best way to keep on track.  Surround yourself with people who also strive for happiness over success, and most importantly, surround yourself with people who support what you do.

Success no longer means attaining wealth, respect, and/or fame. To truly be successful you need to find happiness every day and love what you do, the rest will follow.


Achor, S. (n.d.). The happy secret to better work. Retrieved from