People often criticize younger generations for getting rewards for even the smallest things they do. They get stickers for learning to tie their shoes, candy for participating in class, cash for getting good grades. It all seems like too much.
But is it really such a bad thing to celebrate little successes? Research shows that celebrating small achievements, not just big events, is crucial to our success and happiness in life. Dr. Alice Chan explained that celebrating both big and small achievements of any kind is not narcissistic, but is in fact fundamental to making our dreams a reality (1). And it makes sense. If we don’t recognize the small things we accomplish, how can we ever have the hope we need to achieve our biggest dreams?
Celebrating success has other emotional benefits too. Celebrating small achievements helps you to recognize what in your life is working well and why, motivates you to keep improving, and releases dopamine into your system, which makes you feel happy (2). When we celebrate our achievements, we live happier and more productive lives! By recognizing the things we are successful at, we can find patterns and learn how to recreate them in order to achieve more. The effect that the simple act of celebrating can have in our lives is incredible!
Not only do we receive great personal benefits when we celebrate our achievements, but celebrating achievements of individuals and groups can benefit an entire group. A study done on soccer teams in World Cups and European Championships found that teams who celebrated winning a shootout were far more likely to win the game. The emotional contagion of happiness that comes from celebrating boosted each member of the team and gave them the motivation and strength they needed to excel (3). These same results could be experienced in any kind of group setting, whether it be in a workplace, a family, or a classroom. Celebrating the success of individuals in a group, as well as the success of the group as a whole gives everyone the boost they need to achieve great things.
At Sixth Dimension, we are big on celebrations. We list celebration as one of the important steps in goal making and achieving, and hope that you always celebrate your success when you complete your goals. At the end of each work day, our team at the office holds an achievement meeting, where we take time to discuss the things we achieved during the day that we are proud of, and congratulate each other on our success. I have found that this meeting does make me happier and motivates me to work hard during the day, so that I have something to celebrate at the end.
Celebrating even the small accomplishments in life has a powerful effect. Don’t shy away from celebrating the small achievements in your life! It doesn’t mean you are self-centered, it just means you care about yourself and are taking advantage of the many benefits of celebration. You deserve it!
(1): Chan, Alice. “Importance of Celebration.” Dr. Alice Chan, 2012, http://www.dralicechan.com/importance-of-celebration/.
(2): “6 Reasons Why You Should Celebrate Success.” Brilliant Living HQ, 2016, https://www.brilliantlivinghq.com/6-reasons-why-you-should-celebrate-success/.
(3): Moll, Tjerk, Geir Jordet and Gert-Jan Pepping. “Emotional Contagion in Soccer Penalty Shootouts: Celebration of Individual Success is Associated with Ultimate Team Success.” Journal of Sports Sciences, vol. 28, no. 9, 2010, pp.983-92, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2010.484068.