How to be successful and stay happy: A MBA professor has some simple tips

Rajagopal Raghunathan defines happiness as having a sense of pride in oneself and serenity.

Sulekha Nair June 10, 2015 16:46:01 IST
How to be successful and stay happy: A MBA professor has some simple tips

“What is this course on `happiness quotient’ you are talking about? Are you pulling a fast one on us?”

It’s a question that Professor Rajagopal Raghunathan, Visiting Professor of Marketing at the Indian School of Business (ISB) and Professor of Marketing at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas in Austin faces every term from students and colleagues.

“A lot of management and engineering graduates go on to become CEOs, earn a lot of money, have fancy houses and vacations. If you ask them, Are they happy, most times than not. Money does not equate to happiness is something everyone knows but most people don’t know how to get off that rat race and do something meaningful. This course is aimed at all such individuals and anyone interested in chasing happiness, instead of amassing wealth and yet not being happy,” Raghunathan said.

How to be successful and stay happy A MBA professor has some simple tips

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The ISB is putting up a six week course on “A Life of Happiness and Fulfilment’ and is offering it on Coursera, with whom the institute signed a MoU with earlier this year. The course content is drawn from various fields such as psychology, behavioural decision, neuroscience among others. The course will begin on 15 June, 2015.

Raghunathan defines happiness as having a sense of pride and serenity. Here are some tips he has to offer on what an individual needs to be successful:

- Identify something that gives you a lot of engagement and takes you in its flow without realizing time spent on it. Most often what happens is that individuals borrow questions on life choices from parents, mentors, etc and then struggle to fulfill them. For instance, when a student gets good grades in school, it is automatically assumed he will head to the engineering and medicine streams versus what he/she would really like to do.

- One deep and meaningful relationship: This could be with a spouse, family member, friend, etc. A relationship where you can discuss your failings, misgivings, joys, etc with someone who hears you without judging you.

- A need to have an implicit faith that things will work out. If they don’t, then look for the positives in that outcome. For instance, if you miss a flight, focus on what you can do with the time on your hands instead of stressing over the missed flight.

Raghunathan also listed the seven deadly sins that stymie joy:

- Devaluing happiness: Even though we know we should not be doing it, we still go against that instinct. Like retaliating in an argument because it hurts your ego to be quiet

- Chasing superficial things like material goods, wealth, etc instead of chasing one’s passion

- A sense of neediness: Wanting to be the centre of attention and being loved instead of seeking to be kind and generous

- A controlling nature: Wanting to control situations and outcomes

- Not trusting people enough: A lot of studies show that people are a lot more trustworthy than one gives them credit for

- Distrusting life: A lack of spiritual attitude or investing in negativity

- Ignoring the source of happiness within: We all have it but instead of looking within, we look at the 'whys' and 'what ifs' and stress over it.

So, is Prof. Raghunathan happy? He laughed at the query.

"I am not a guru. I have done my research on the topic, dipped into emerging scientific research, particularly 'positive psychology' and put together a course content. I am a teacher who has learnt his topic and is here to teach it. If I can make my students realise on a 24-hour basis what they need to do for themselves instead of what should be done, that would be good enough,” he said.

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