Choosing between success and happiness is a matter of beliefs and actions. Do you prioritize happiness over success or vice versa?
Many studies and research work are now being conducted to understand how humans perceive happiness and success. These studies are helping to analyze different behavioral patterns to understand what it really means to be happy.
When I was growing my first two companies, I repeatedly made the same mistake — believing that happiness and success meant the same thing. I often see my clients making this mistake too.
The reality is that they are not the same at all. In our modern-day culture, you’ll see people striving for success all the time because they believe that is what’s going to make them happy. However, it doesn’t mean that if you achieve a goal, you’re not going to be happy about it. Of course, you are, but you’re going to experience momentary happiness, and this unfortunately doesn’t last forever.
Usually, we associate success with things like a high salary, lots of money, or the ability to make significant, powerful decisions.
The actual definition of success is, “The accomplishment of a name, attainment of popularity or profit, or money and achieving desired aims,” meaning that success comes when you get what you set out to do to achieve desired aims.
However, it’s important to note that there is absolutely nothing in that definition that says anything about being happy.
Happiness is defined as “a feeling of contentment, delight, or being pleased.”
Note that it has nothing to do with success— meaning it doesn’t have anything to do with how much money you make, how popular you are, or how many people know your name.
Explaining or defining happiness is not as simple as it seems, and that is because everybody has their own definition of happiness.
According to research in positive psychology carried out by Sonja Lyubomirsky PhD., a happy person is an individual who frequently experiences positive emotions throughout the day. Such individuals are bound to feel more positive emotions than negative emotions like anxiety, sadness, or hopelessness.
One could define happiness as life satisfaction and little moments of joy and pleasure. After all, happiness is all about positive emotions.
Remember, happiness is a feeling, and because it’s a feeling, it’s always available to us. There shouldn’t be any reason why we should postpone our happiness until we achieve some goal or some, ‘self-assumed’ level of happiness. Happiness can be attained in the now.
Many of us spend all of our lives beating ourselves up because we haven’t achieved that “success” with a goal. We persistently keep postponing our happiness and putting it off until we achieve this “success” that we have implanted in our minds.
Numerous studies have shown that it’s happy people who actually achieve more. They live longer, and they’re more likely to be promoted at work. A Harvard study found it was not the success that led to happiness. But in fact, it was the opposite that was true. It was happiness that led to more success.
According to psychologist Daniel Gilbert, a psychology professor at Harvard, happiness is the ultimate goal that drives all the big and small decisions in our lives. He further elaborated that a good decision is a decision that brings a sense of well-being, happiness, and contentment.
This is why being happy right now, in the present moment, is crucial to achieving our goals. Instead of waiting to achieve your dreams, desires, and whatever level of success you’ve defined yourself, you can be happy today, right now.
We’ve got to stop postponing our happiness until this or that happens because when we’re happy now, it will actually help us achieve our goals faster and easier.
Remember again – happiness is a feeling. So it’s vital to do more of the things each day that make us happy to produce more of this emotion.
The good news is that you get to be happy all along the way. You get to be happy while you’re taking action, or while you’re failing, or not achieving that desired result the first time, the second time, or the third time. You get to be happy while you’re continuing to take action, change, and learn and grow. And you get to be happy when you do achieve the desired results.
The happier you are, the easier taking action, and getting your intended result is going to be. When you’re happy taking action and believe that problems just bounce off you, you’re going to enjoy the entire ride.
But when you’re not happy, the ride is not so much fun. And here’s why we must build happiness into our day intentionally.
Success is a byproduct of our happiness. So if we stop giving our power to our goals, they simply become that fun activity that we want to do to achieve our potential. Goals are about growing; they’re about learning, evolving, and becoming all that we can be, but they are not necessarily about us being happy.
When you choose to be happy now, whether you’ve achieved a goal or not, and you focus on things that produce more happiness in your day, you don’t give up growing and evolving, you just become more content and grateful.
You shouldn’t mistake being happy to give up on your dreams. When you’re happy, pursuing your dreams is a lot easier and more fun.
When we do not give our power to some goal or attach our happiness to something in the future, we will ultimately find peace within us. We can then still achieve our goals without desperation, neediness, urgency and the extra stress many of us add onto our own plates.
Soul gazing is a beautiful practice that you can do to bring positive feelings into your life. You can do it with your intimate partner or with yourself. If done with your partner, you can simply hold hands and look into each other’s eyes without words being spoken. As you look into each other’s eyes you will feel all barriers between you just kind of melt away. You will be filled with unconditional love, compassion, and empathy for this person in your life sitting across from you. If done by yourself, you can into the bathroom and look at yourself in the mirror. You can do this for 2-4 minutes.
You can also do it in the morning before starting your day. While brushing your teeth in the morning or the evening, look in the bathroom mirror and pick one eye to focus. Repeat the words “I love you” 10x or 20x or repeatedly. It may sound odd, but I promise you, the rewards are worth giving it a try.
This fun little practice will start to fill your heart with love, empathy, compassion, and happiness by living in the present moment.
If you’re feeling stretched thin, or a little hopeless, or not feeling safe during the day. Find a mirror, close the door, and just give yourself 3 to 4 minutes to soul gaze. Tell yourself that you love yourself over and over again, and you’ll start to feel everything shifting for the better.
The happier we are, the easier taking action, and getting our desired result is going to be. When we’re happy taking action regardless of the problems, we’re going to enjoy the entire ride. But to get there, we must build happiness into our day intentionally and remind ourselves that we can be happy in the here and now.
If you found this article helpful, consider joining Goal Achievers, which is our coaching community where we dive deep into a topic relevant to living a full and extraordinary life each month. We focus on just one topic at a time so the process isn’t overwhelming and we help you take small powerful steps forward towards the life of your dreams. If you are a business owner, you can also join us at Inner Circle, our business coaching program where we take you by the hand to help you eliminate frustration, stress, and overwhelm from your business so you can achieve the results you really want.
Jennifer Dawn has grown two multimillion dollar businesses and now mentors others to do the same. She is one of the select few nationwide Profit First and Provendus Growth Academy Certified coaches…
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