Author Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business, has discovered that the things that make people smart and successful can also undermine happiness. In his book, If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy, Raj asks, “If intelligence helps with decision-making, smart people should make better life choices. So why are some of the brightest and most successful people profoundly unhappy?” He identifies issues successful people have to overcome to be truly happy, including the following:
Stop devaluing happiness
Negative beliefs about happiness can prevent people from prioritizing happiness. A common negative belief about happiness is that it will make us lazy. If we are happy, then why work? Define what happiness means to you, and then create “a portfolio of things (pictures, songs, people and activities) that you believe are reliable determinants of happiness as you defined it.”
Don’t be overly controlling
Seeking control is a good thing, up to a point, Raj writes. Obsessing about achieving outcomes isn’t a good thing. Mitigate an overly high need for control by learning to appreciate how uncertainty can spice up life. Take internal control (retain the keys to your happiness) by working toward personal mastery of your own mind.
Try not to distrust others
Trust is critical to happiness. When you can’t trust others, you can’t relax, and when you can’t relax, you can’t be happy, Raj writes. People tend to reciprocate trust with trustworthy behavior. Trusting others builds a culture of trust and boosts happiness. Build up your trust by reminding yourself that people are more trustworthy than you might give them credit for, and take notice every time your trust is validated.
Order If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? at Amazon or wherever books are sold.
Sandra Bilbray is a contributing editor for Live Happy and the founder and CEO of TheMediaConcierge.net.