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Mind Over Matter: Why Choosing Happiness Is The Key To Success Focus on the life you want and the impact you want to make on people's lives, not the money you want to see in the bank.

By May Rostom

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


When we were younger, it was so easy to be happy. In fact, some of us were probably asked: "How come you're so happy all the time?" or "What drug are you on?" Indeed, some of us were "too" happy, and we had to either tone it down, or simply laugh quieter, just because it was "unacceptable."

The fact is, according to studies done by the University of Minnesota, every individual has a baseline level of happiness and contentment that they return to, and this benchmark is largely (but not wholly) affected by genetics. In other words, some people are born happier than others. So, the next time you spot one of those "happy souls" who light up every room they walk in, and you wonder how it is that they can easily take so much delight in life, remember that they might just have been born with it.

But what if you're not born with it? While genetics play a significant part in our baseline happiness, the report also indicates that a person's short-term happiness is heavily dependent upon how they actively choose to be happy. Choosing happiness can be done when you know that happiness is not conditional. When you separate being happy from external events, or accomplishments, or a business win, being happy becomes a lot easier.

Some companies are actually making happiness their business model. Zappos has done it. Southwest Airlines have done it. And now more and more startups are following suit. Study after study proves that happy teams are more creative, productive and effective. Tony Hsieh, founder and CEO of Zappos.com, Inc. applies this philosophy of happiness in his organization as his daily protocol. He believes that the idea of delivering happiness is based on three factors:

  1. You must carefully choose your battles, and balance your life.
  2. Make your life path.
  3. Be patient, understand your nature, contribute to society.

When all three factors are met, long term business (and personal) success can easily be achieved. So, how can you take action, now? Here's a primer:

1. DEFINE SUCCESS What's your idea of success? Forget everything everyone has ever told you about being successful or rich or happy. What would make you happy? What would make you feel successful? When you pinpoint and define your idea of success, you can then set a road map to achieve it. Sit down and think about what your end goal is. Focus on the life you want and the impact you want to make on people's lives, not the money you want to see in the bank.

2. DEFINE YOUR CORPORATE CULTURE What kind of boss do you want to be? What kind of business model do you want to lead? Do you want to see employees showing up to work happy, or do you want them to walk in like zombies every morning? By defining your values, passion, and purpose, you would be giving all your employees a reason to come into work every morning, build more brand resilience, and give your company a reason for being.

3. MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK Surround yourself with the right people and the right situations, and don't be afraid to be bold. Take advantage of the right opportunities as they present themselves, and don't be afraid to fail. By exploring different business models, taking risky business decisions, and putting yourself out there, we firmly believe you'll make your own luck, and be on the path to aligning your work to your values.

Related: Redefining Definitions: Making Your Own Benchmark For Success

May Rostom

Curator, Entrepreneur Café

May Rostom is the curator of Entrepreneur Café, a new daily digest of stories from Entrepreneur Middle East to fuel your day at work. 

May has been in the fashion journalism field for more than five years, with over 500 articles published in online and offline mediums. Working closely with some of the biggest fashion brands in the region, from creating, curating, and developing content to aggregating and pitching for content from several fashion and beauty outlets in the Middle East, Rostom’s experience is multicultural and vast. She was formerly a senior lifestyle editor/writer at MSN Arabia, and she has also worked with TRESemme Egypt as a fashion expert.

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