The Secret of Dutch Happiness: The True Relationship Between Success and Happiness

The Secret of Dutch Happiness: The True Relationship Between Success and Happiness

The Dutch seem to know a little secret.

They know something counter-intuitive to what many other cultures believe about success.

Do you believe this assumption?

“If I put long hours into my work, and I can present a great project and hopefully get a promotion, then I’ll be happy.”

Maybe you believe it just a little, or a lot, and that makes sense.

It’s a common, long-standing assumption:

Success (in relationships, school, career, etc.) will cause happiness.

Are you ready to change your mind?

A meta-analysis of 225 studies in the found that happiness doesn’t necessarily follow success. But, happiness does lead to success.

The Dutch are not surprised at all. The Dutch meaning of success is a cornerstone of how Dutch parents raise their children.

Happiness Leads to Success, Not the Other Way Around

Essentially, the review of 225 studies found people who report being happy actively seek out and take on new goals. This reinforces their happiness, and other positive emotions.

The lead researcher reports, “[the fact that happiness leads to greater successes in life] may be because happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to be more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources. When people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic, and energetic and others find them likeable and sociable.”

Note that these findings don’t imply that happier people are always successful.

It does mean that by focusing on achieving success instead of cultivating happiness may be an inefficient way to be happy, if that is one of your top priorities for you (and for those close to you, possibly your family).

Equipped with this knowledge, potentially getting some ideas turned upside down, how do you put this into action?

And how can you let happiness lead the way to success?