The Formula For Success And Happiness

Every visit to a Club brings new learning and discovery. When I was at one of the Clubs that I am mentoring, the Nee Soon East Toastmasters last week, I realized that more new Toastmasters had joined us.

Sankar G. Vyakaranam, while being a new member, had shown unwavering enthusiasm in his journey to become a better speaker. I was impressed by his eloquence and suave mannerism in delivery. Definitely a competent presentor in the making.

He spoke on success and happiness, sharing with us a few tips in the process. And here are his wonderful and practical pointers:

The formula for success and happiness


A few years ago, I developed an interest in knowing my personality and improving it. I was also genuinely interested in finding out what is required to lead a successful and a happy life. With that as my motivation, I have read several personality development books in recent years. Some of the books that I’ve read include “The 7 habits of highly effective people”, “The 8th habit”, “The monk who sold his Ferrari”, “You can win”, “Stumbling on happiness” and “The seven spiritual laws of success”. While reading all these books, I was trying to figure out what is it that all these books are trying to teach? Is there a common pattern? a common message? What is the formula for success and happiness? And then sometime during this process, the answer dawned on to me. It was quite an eye opening experience because I felt that I discovered something very significant. Today I am going to share my discovery with you.

The formula for success and happiness is this – develop good habits and quit the bad ones.

It’s a very simple formula, but very, very powerful.

Now I am going to talk about what a habit is, what it takes to develop good habits and quit the bad ones, which habits should you develop, and some examples.

What is a habit?

A habit is simply anything that you do repeatedly. Your habits are actually part of your personality. In other words, your personality is made up of your habits. You cannot separate the habits from the personality. They are one and the same. For example, if you smoke regularly, you are a smoker. If you tend to put off or postpone doing things, then you are a procrastinator. And to take a positive example, if you have the habit of regularly setting goals and achieving them, then you are an achiever. There are two types of habits – physical and mental. Physical habits are habits such as reading, getting up early, exercising, etc and mental habits have to do more with your attitude and character. I’ve give some examples of my own habits later in the speech.

What does it take to develop good habits and quit the bad ones?

The answer to this question is also quite simple – it takes determination, hard work and self-discipline. It takes great effort really and it’s only fair that it should! After all, leading a successful and happy life cannot be easy, otherwise everyone would do it! There is a good analogy for the effort required to establish a good habit – it’s like putting a satellite into orbit. Initially, you require a great amount of force and energy, to thrust the Satellite into space, against gravity. But once the satellite reaches its orbit, it moves effortlessly. Inculcating a good habit is exactly like this – it initially requires a great deal of effort, but once a habit is established, you do it effortlessly.

Which habits should you develop?

This is where the different personality development books differ. Each author recommends a different set of habits. What I’ve realized is that there is no ‘special list’ or ‘master list’ of habits that one MUST develop. In fact the list of good habits is quite long, almost unlimited which is exactly why we have so many personality development books! My suggestion on which habits to develop is this – each of us must introspect and then a) identify our bad habits that we want to quit and b) figure out the good habits we want to inculcate, based on our own goals and priorities. Reading the personality development books does help as it exposes us to the various good habits that some smart people have identified, and the books go on to explain the benefits of the habits they recommend. But even if you don’t read these books, you should be able apply the formula based on your own analysis and common sense.

My own examples:

I’ll share with you a couple habits that I have consciously worked on and developed. Now they are a part of my personality and I benefit from them every day.

One physical habit I’ve developed is this – I don’t watch TV program. On an average, I watch TV programs for less than an hour per week. This is an important habit to me as I believe that watching TV is a waste of time.

Mental habits are harder to develop. A mental habit that I’ve developed is this – I don’t judge people. I think a lot of relationship problems amongst friends and family members can be avoided if we inculcate this powerful habit. The way I look at is, who am I to judge you? Why should I judge you? I am not a judge! Plus I realize that people always feel that they are right and justified in their thoughts, feelings and actions. So, my goal is to understand and not judge the other person. Note that any form of bias or prejudice is nothing but a form of judgment.


To conclude, today I shared with you my formula for success and happiness – develop good habits and quit the bad ones.

The formula makes sense if you think about it – the best investment which will yield life long returns is in yourself. A good habit is a like a good investment and a bad habit is like a bad investment. Interestingly, I’ve later found that this discovery of mine about habits is nothing new. In fact, it’s age-old wisdom. Aristotle said “we are what we do repeatedly.” And Swami Vivekananda said “Character is repeated habits.” And when I read such quotes, I feel reassured that my thinking is correct, my formula is correct, and that I am on the right path.

Explore posts in the same categories: Beliefs and Values, Emotional Intelligence, Excel Beyond Excellence, Living Life, Mind Mastery, Perspectives, Reflection and Thoughts, Work-Life Balance, Working Wellness

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