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There are many inexplicable phenomena in the modern world that are hard to understand even when they are significant and integral parts of people’s lives. One of such phenomena is happiness, which every person wants to reach but does not know exactly how to do that. For centuries, people have been seeking for the key to happiness by trying to explain its essence and investigate its roots or crucial precursors. However, when considering the controversial and multisided nature of happiness, a single definition of this phenomenon and its formula have not been yet formulated. As a result, happiness is remaining one of the issues, the nature of which still arises many questions and attracts people’s attention nowadays. Moreover, when considering the tempo of social development and the increased load on the human nervous system that causes inability to enjoy one’s life or be happy, it becomes obvious that happiness is the question of humanity’s health and further progress. In this concern, the modern human perception of happiness is a crucial moment that should be reassessed, because it is strongly related to success as the primary reason for being happy. If there is no success, then there is no happiness. Such interdependence most likely has the right to exist, but the question about the priority of its two elements appears. Thus, the paper seeks to analyze happiness from the perspective of success in order to investigate whether it is the primary root of being happy.
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Success is a crucial aspect of the modern human life that is inextricably linked with people’s daily activities. It belongs to the most tangible results of people’s actions that bring the strong feeling of satisfaction that comes reaching a certain goal. There is no surprise that people associate this euphoric state of victory with happiness that they consider as the highest level of contentment. One can confirm this fact when addressing the Oxford dictionary that includes more than fifty synonyms to the notion of ‘happiness’ that arerelated to “pleasure” and “contentedness.” Thus, such association seems to be rather logical and reasonable. However, to understand the significance and priority of these two concepts, one should answer two meaningful questions, whether success is the only thing that causes human satisfaction, and whether an unhappy person can reach the smallest success in any business.
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Investigating the issue of happiness and success in people’s life, Shawn Achor in his book The Happiness Advantage affirms that only human high spirit or state of “being happy” may promote reaching any purpose. To confirm his consideration, the author addresses to the scientific research showing that, even professionals who practice their business for a long time and have relevant knowledge and experience for success, but are working in a bad mood, often produce worse performance results than their happier colleagues. Thus, being grounded in these data, Shawn Achor suggests that happiness is the primary human advantage for reaching success; it is the fuel for excellent results in all life aspects, especially professional performance (Achor).
It is worth to admit that the associations between the notions of happiness and success did not appear from anywhere, and there were substantial historical precursors for such perception. Thus, people started to investigate the issue of happiness from the dawn of civilization, when life was simple and human interests were characterized by few needs. The strong cult of gods that existed in the ancient times promoted understanding of happiness as the fortune or high will of Heaven (Chirkov, Kennon, and Richard). Getting god’s favor predetermined people’s success, and such situation most likely was the first step to the appearance of further strong association between happiness and success. Even the later philosophic studies developed by the sage did not break interdependence between them. Thus, seeking for the explanation of the nature of happiness, philosopherss addressed to diverse life aspects that did not deny the existence of links between success and happiness. Thus, Confucius’ theory of harmony meant reaching success in finding the balance, Kant’s vision of happiness as moral perfection foresaw luck in achieving it, Aristotle and Plato’s study of virtues as the precursor for happiness also hinted on the advance in managing one’s features (Zhongying).
Concerning the ancient times, such interdependence does not seem to be controversial because of the essence that philosophers put into their definitions. Both of them claimed that happiness and success had moral context. It cannot be said about the modern understanding of these notions. One can notice that life conditions in a certain period of time are the primary ground for the vision of happiness as well as success. Today, the issue of the welfare and earning money comes first before the other life aspects. Thus, it is not surprising that modern people associate success with money and wealth (Wilson). Happiness could not be a notion of the material world, and it is the primary reason for distinguishing these two notions in the modern life. People were trying to link their success with fortune and the will of heaven as their ancestors did, but the material side of nowadays’ life showed that it was the result of human efforts and special state of mind they called happiness.
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One can be posed with the exclusion of success from the list of happiness’ roots, because it is used to be the primary reason for being happy. However, the emotions that people get when interacting with the surrounding world, the closest persons, and the society are the strongest sources of happiness. The majority of psychological studies include the recommendation of positive thinking that should be certainly nourished with pleasant emotions. Thus, Steve Chandler in his book for students 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever underlines the importance of the emotional background for successful studying.
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