Practice organisation: Jan Mühlfeit says don’t worry be happy!

Jan Mühlfeit asks whether happiness truly follows success – or whether a positive outlook is the starting point for everything. Jan shares his four Ps model for positive leadership.

With so much unpredictability in our lives – particularly when it comes to recent political events – many individuals are looking for opportunities to take back control. And what better place to start than the workplace?

A prevalent belief in our modern world is that happiness comes as a result of being successful. Consequently, people often focus all of their energy on finding prestigious jobs, working long hours, and chasing qualifications, in order to make them appear successful in the eyes of the world. With the idea that this will later bring them satisfaction and happiness. However, a growing body of positive psychology research puts this whole ‘happiness follows success’ notion to bed. Revealing that it is, in fact, happiness that fuels greater success and achievement – not the other way around.

Wealth and happiness

In most western countries and in a growing number of developed nations in the east, we are far richer today than we were in previous generations. Real income has risen over the last half century and we have far more material comforts than ever before – bigger homes, more clothes, better cars, longer holidays – and we live in relative peace and security. But we are no happier for it. Indeed, while levels of material prosperity are on the rise, so are levels of anxiety and depression. On the whole, trends from around the world show that happiness and satisfaction do not improve with greater wealth once countries reach ‘middle-income’ levels.

A large-scale study in 2015, involving 12,000 participants, was conducted by scholars from Michigan State University and the University of British Colombia regarding correlations between...

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