There is a feedback effect in this bright quote.
To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.
~Thomas Watson, Sr.
This is an on-going feedback loop.
The more success we have, the happier our hearts shall be. Because our hearts are happier now, our business shall succeed more. Our hearts have a limited capacity for filling it with happiness; the excess happiness shall flow out; else, they shall betray us. This is the time we start suffering from the “success syndrome”. Remember that those who brag their wealth and success cannot cash their spirit with all the money filling their pockets.
Losing stability resulted in two syndromes- the success syndrome and the happiness syndrome.
When happiness capacity exceeds a certain limit, it becomes a constraint, and the onset of bifurcation starts. The buildup of happiness accelerates and reaches a point where bifurcation starts. But the question is bifurcation to what?
Let us modify the bifurcation diagram so that it reflects on the happiness of success and the syndromes of success and happiness that follow.
We may notice that as happiness increases beyond certain rates we fall prey to its predator. This bifurcation in reality is indifferent to the well-known prey-predator relationship. The only difference is that the predator is residing inside us like plaque eating teeth.
As the rate of happiness keeps increasing its greediness forfeit the value of being successful, might turn our heads with the wine of success and we lose our stability.
The above conclusions are supported by literature. To give one example I refer to this article by Mark Fahey in 2015. In this article titled “Money can buy happiness, but only to a point” includes a graph that shows that the happiness gains become almost nil when annual income exceeds $200,000 a year. The closer we get to this limit, the greater is the rate of losing happiness.
These thoughts make me question the validity of the Happiness Index and the studies relating happiness to productivity in a linear fashion. Maybe these studies need to adjust to the capacity of happiness and its discontinuity after reaching a certain level.
Do not overly-populate your heart with happiness. It shall lead to success syndrome.
This is not a myth. Even if we inhale more oxygen than our bodies need can be deadly. The quote below is from Science Focus.
Pure oxygen can be deadly. Our blood has evolved to capture the oxygen we breathe in and bind it safely to the transport molecule called hemoglobin. If you breathe air with a much higher than normal O2 concentration, the oxygen in the lungs overwhelms the blood’s ability to carry it away.
Happiness and Unhappiness in Storytelling
One other thought that crosses my mind is novel writing. Imagine writing a story or screenplay picturing a man who suddenly becomes rich following making great profits in the stock market with a lucky event lifting the prices of shares he had. He becomes a millionaire, but then he first slowly starts to lose his character. Imagine now a feedback reinforcing loop with the richer he gets, the more unfriendly he becomes. He couldn’t care the least ending in divorcing his wife, abandoning his long-time friends, caring more for his fluffy appearance, and more appalling behaviors. These behaviors reinforce his feeling of greatness and he feels more boastful the more people desert him.
The man has reached a point where he becomes drunk with money. He spends it buying “artificial happiness”. He started to be friendly with “cosmetic people” who show beautiful smiles and he sees the smiling wolf as a best friend. One day he loses all his money to a wolf that trapped him while drunk to sign papers conceding debts to him. He is now lonely, with no money, no life, and wife, going naked in this world. I leave the end of the story for the reader to complete.
Imagine many loops that scale up to increase the tension in your story until the hero reaches a tipping point where she/he bifurcates into different states. She/he then finds self-living in the darkness of chaos till the hero transforms into a new emerging person.
Storytelling requires the buildup of tension emotions. Beyond the capacity of the hero of your story to accommodate emotions will cause negative effects. New paths shall emerge and the hero loses her/his way. This tension confusion shall deepen until the hero resolves it by being a new self.