THE BLOG
07/15/2014 11:09 am ET Updated Sep 14, 2014

The Key to Happiness

When asked where I see myself in 10 years, I will say point blankly I don't know; but, what I do know is that I want to be happy. I think a lot of young adults would say this. However, sometimes achieving happiness is harder than you may think.

This year in my AP Language class, my teacher showed us a TED Talk video about happiness and success. In the video, Shawn Achor discusses how we currently have the wrong formula for success. In our society, we are taught that working harder leads to success and then happiness. In the video, Achor says how once one gets good grades he then wants to get better grades. Likewise. with getting accepted into college, once one gets into to a pretty selective school he then wants to get into a more selective school. It's an endless cycle, which is why we are rarely ever content with our lives because we are continuously changing our goals and wanting more.

Yes, it's good to be ambitious, but it is also important to be happy and to not be constantly chasing things hoping they will make us finally feel content. We are always thinking that after we reach a certain point of success then we will be happy. We believed that if we just get one more A+ or if we just get on to one more varsity sports team then we will have what we want and will finally be happy. By doing this we are putting happiness second and hoping that by working harder we will somehow achieve happiness. However, the correct formula is that if we are happy in the first place then we will reach success. The truth is that positivity and happiness lead to success. In other words, you need happiness before you can achieve true success. With a positive mindset we can achieve so much more. A positive mindset is crucial in viewing the world; it determines how we perceive situations and ultimately how we handle them. For example as Achor says, "instead of viewing stress as a threat with a positive mindset one views it as a challenge."

Thinking positively can be harder than one may realize. It definitely may be challenging at first but it pays off in the long run. One great way to keep a positive mindset is on a daily basis to write down three things you are grateful for. By doing this exercise, it teaches your brain to look at the good side of situations before the bad. Another way to keep a positive mindset is through random acts of kindness. Basically, just do nice things for people that maybe you wouldn't normally do.

As summer is coming to an end and school is right around the corner try to remember to look at the bright side of things a little more. Though you may feel overwhelmed and stressed, just take a deep breath and remember it will be okay. Just grab a piece of a paper and write down a few things you are happy and thankful for. Through these simple exercises it is possible to retrain the way your brain thinks about success and happiness. Hopefully, this will create a ripple effect and influence the way the world looks at happiness.