Somehow we think that if someone is going to do something Truly Important, like found a company, write a book or invent the ultimate 15-minute chicken recipe, they're destined to be overwhelmed and stressed and moody and grouchy until -- presto! -- the IPO, the book party, the Food Network appearance. All of us important people with important things to do tell ourselves that happiness will happen once we get those important things done. Right?
Well, according to research out of Harvard, happiness actually makes you more productive—and successful. Which means turning that thought on its head. As Annie Dillard writes, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." If you spend every day thinking, "I will do the Happiness Things later, after my big break," what do you think eventually happens? That's right. You become the person who spends every day thinking, "I will do the Happiness Things later," and that is all.