Bad news for pessimists – a new study shows that happier teens are more successful in the long run.
A study by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health followed 10,000 teens from high school to 29 years of age, and they found that income was linked with happiness. Students who had said they were generally uncontent earned 30 percent less than the national average, while more cheerful students earned 10 percent more.
This means there was a 40 percent difference in income between the groups, based solely on how optimistic they were.
According to Andrew J. Oswald, who was behind the study, teens with higher levels of optimism have a high probability of “obtaining a college degree, getting hired and promoted, having higher degrees of optimism and extraversion, and less neuroticism.”
That means, in addition to achieving more success, happier people also suffer fewer mental disorders later in life.
So why do brighter teens have brighter futures?
Oswald and the rest of the study team suggest this is because happier people have fewer distractions to keep them from reaching their goals.
More distraught teens, however, tend to dwell on their problems and allow these roadblocks to impede success.
Furthermore, outgoing and optimistic students will normally perform better in job interviews, allowing them to attain higher paying and more desirable occupations.
Of course, smiling all the time won’t guarantee anyone a big paycheck. Though happy students tend to earn more money, there are always exceptions to the study.
The best way to be successful is to achieve the best grades and activities within one’s ability; hopefully happiness will be a natural added bonus.
So, though happiness and optimism are by no means all you need for success, it doesn’t hurt to smile or compliment someone every now and again.