After working in many high-achieving environments like Yale, Stanford, Silicon Valley, New York City, I noticed too many people pursuing “success” at a cost to themselves. They were postponing their happiness now in pursuit of success…with the idea that, when they attain success, they will be happy. Yet they were burning themselves (and others) out in the process. I too joined the rat-race, it seemed like what everyone was doing. It seemed like the right thing to do. But it wasn’t.
When I looked at the research, I saw that – overwhelmingly – happiness is actually the secret to success. If you prioritize your happiness, you will actually be more productive, more creative, more resilient, more energized, more charismatic and influential. You will have more willpower and be more focused, with less effort. That’s why I wrote this book.
You can either listen to common (yet false!) theories of success: work yourself into the ground, stay focused on your future goals, focus nonstop, you can’t have success without stress, look out for yourself first and foremost and be your own worst critic… or you can listen to the data which tells you the opposite: Take time off and you’ll be more innovative, stay present and you’ll be more productive and charismatic, take time to be idle and have fun and you’ll actually be more creative and more likely to have innovative breakthroughs, nurture calmness in your life and you’ll have more energy to get more work done, be kind to others and you’ll be more successful and be self-compassionate and you’ll be more resilient.
In particular, research on compassion that we at CCARE and our collaborators have conducted at Stanford and beyond have shown the immense power of self-compassion and compassion not only for our personal well-being but for our work life. Many people are so self-critical, for example. Yet research shows that self-criticism is basically self-sabotage whereas self-compassion -treating yourself with the understanding, mindfulness and kindness with which you would treat a friend – leads to far greater resilience, productivity and well-being.
Similarly, we’re often told to look out of ourselves first and foremost. After all, we believe, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Yet research shows that being kind to others and going out of your way to help whenever and wherever you can actually ends up not only benefitting those around you but also making you more happy, healthy and productive. Your colleagues are loyal to you, your team functions better and more productively, and the end result is a win-win for all.
This book is for anyone who wants to do their best but feels overwhelmed by the pace of the modern world. Whether you’re a business leader or a stay-at-home mom trying to keep up, the data is clear: if you take care of yourself and others, if you take time off and find joy in your life, you will be more successful at achieving your goals, not to mention fulfilled. I’ve surveyed 100s of studies and distilled the findings in a way that is very practical so you can apply the tips to your daily life. I hope this book provides you with relief – relief that you have what it takes to achieve your goals while also enjoying your life and feeling your best.
If you pre-order The Happiness Track before 1/26, you can avail of 5 free gifts including a companion meditation album to the book. See emmaseppala.com/book for details.