Happiness May Really Be The Key To Success, According To Research

Ah, happiness. It is perhaps the most sought-after virtue throughout one's entire lifetime. Regardless of gender, marital status, or the amount of money in our bank accounts, the desire to find happiness doesn't discriminate.

To experience happiness can be as satisfying as drinking a delicious fall-themed cocktail after work, or as fruitful as spending time with loved ones, cultivating daily gratitude, and other methods that have shown others to be in their most-joyful state. The quest to find happiness has inspired many studies (per Tracking Happiness) to find why people may struggle to find it. There are also those who dedicate time to exploring how happiness can affect other areas of our lives, such as another coveted desire: success.

Like happiness, success is often a buzzword that is covered in podcasts, self-help books, and more. The bridge between happiness and success has been studied in depth, notes PsychCentral. Could being happy really be the key to success? The topic was recently explored by Gwyneth Paltrow on her podcast. 

Happiness and success are linked

Former actor and "Goop" founder Gwyneth Paltrow has made wellness her brand down to a tee (with some more perturbed about her lifestyle values than others). And one aspect of her successful alternative-wellness brand is hosting "The Goop Podcast" where Paltrow interviews a slew of guest hosts from different walks of life. In a recent episode with guest host and happiness researcher Cassie Holmes, Paltrow approached the episode's title question: "Does more free time make us happier?"

Holmes, a professor at UCLA's Anderson School of Management, said that happiness and success go hand in hand. "The research shows that happy employees are more engaged, better performers when we feel happier, we're more creative adaptive in our problem solving," she said. "And I made the case that we want to educate our students and train them, not just to have the skills to get their first job, but to really thrive throughout their careers. And to do that, they need to figure out how their careers fit in their lives."

According to Forbes, decades of research demonstrate the link between happiness and success, and Holmes encourages her students at UCLA to keep this in mind. "Across the board, it's been really great to see how it's impacted their sense of connection with each other ... genuine social connection, a sense of meaning, taking care of oneself, so is sort of shifting from this 'do do do' and driven by a sort of very abstract notions of success that our business school students and enraptured in, to think about their wellbeing and sense of fulfillment and satisfaction," she said.