The Happiness Equation with Neil Pasricha

“Everyone wants to be happy,” says Neil Pasricha. “We were brought up to believe that if we worked hard we would have great success, and then we would be happy. But that just isn’t true.”

Pasricha shares research that indicates combining great work with success, doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness. In fact, it is the opposite. Being happy leads to great work, which leads to success. Coming to work with a positive mindset has been shown to increase productivity by 31 percent and sales by 37 percent. People who are happy are 40 percent more likely to get a promotion, and they live an average of 10 years longer than people with a negative mindset.

Pasricha believes that happiness is a choice, and he offers simple tips for leading a happier lifestyle. He suggests we spend 20 minutes each day doing one of the following:

  1. Going for a walk outdoors in nature.
  2. Journaling about our day.
  3. Reading 20 pages of fiction. (It is important to read fiction rather than nonfiction, to develop our imagination.)

According to Pasricha, all three of these activities change the chemicals in our brain in a way that helps us develop a more positive mindset. His research reveals that happiness is 50 percent genetic, 10 percent influenced by circumstances, and 40 percent influenced by intentional action. He suggests we all focus on the 40 percent that we can manage.

“I know what has worked for me and ask that you consider a few things. First, take care of yourself. Stop watching and reading the news. You don’t have to bury your head in the sand, but you don’t need to let the news consume your life, either,” explains Pasricha. He also suggests we avoid toxic people, instead surrounding ourselves with people who are happy to take care of their own happiness.

“I also suggest you throw away the concept of retirement. The happiest society in the world is in Okinawa, Japan. Their life span is seven years longer than Americans, and they don’t even have a word for retirement in their vocabulary.”

Pasricha says four of the things that help us live happy lives tend to disappear when we retire:

  • Social—friends and colleagues
  • Stimulation—learning new things
  • Structure—a reason to get out of bed
  • Story—being a part of something

“I highly recommend that you forget about retirement and remember that happiness is a choice. You can change your mindset and choose to influence your life in a positive, happy way.”

About The Ken Blanchard Companies
The Ken Blanchard Companies is the global leader in management training. For nearly 40 years, Blanchard has been creating the best managers in the world, training over 150,000 people each year. From the award-winning First-time Manager program—based on the best-selling business book, The New One Minute Manager®—to SLII®, the most widely taught leadership model in the world, Blanchard is the provider of choice of Fortune 500 companies as well as small to medium businesses, government agencies, and educational and nonprofit organizations.

About Neil Pasricha
For more information on Neil Pasricha visit

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About the Author

Chad Gordon

Chad Gordon is the host of the LeaderChat podcast and one of Blanchard's top client partners dedicated to helping global organizations lead at a higher level.

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