When I say the word Success, what do you think of? You see, recently I’ve come to view success completely differently to how I viewed it 5 years ago. I’ve realized that the way in which I originally viewed success was not healthy, nor was it conducive to genuine happiness. And what good is success without happiness?
Success and Hard Work
Herein lies a clue. Many people associate success with a determined, indomitable will. It’s this idea that unless you’ve gone through a whole load of pain to get there, you don’t deserve it: the whole ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality.
In-fact I too, use to think like this. I use to unknowingly force myself to work harder and longer so that I could feel like I deserved the end result. I’ve since come to realize this is a foolish way to approach success. For one, it’s the fastest way to sickness, exhaustion, stress and unhappiness.
If success is simply a reflection of working yourself to an unhealthy state of exhaustion, then I’m not sure I want in on that. Think about it – if the price of success is that you miss your kids growing up or you limit your own ability to feel happiness on a daily basis then how really can this even be defined as ‘success’?
Success is more than hard work and wealth
I used to believe success was measured by the amount of wealth you have accumulated or the number of achievements you have ticked off your bucket list. But I’ve come to decide that success is so much more than this – in my definition anyway.
I believe successful living is not just about stressful hard work, wealth and achievements but also your level of happiness each day. And when it comes down to it, as clichéd as this may sound, happiness is worth more than a bunch of money and achievements. It’s for this reason that I’ve spent the last year working on an online LESS STRESS course that will launch very soon. I truly believe that life does not have to be hard or stressful and I can’t wait to share this course with you, so you too can start to lower your stress levels and live a happier life.
Can Success and Happiness Co-exist?
Now, true success in my opinion is a combination of happiness and success in the material sense (wealth and achievements). It’s about living life to the max and loving every single minute of it. This is my mantra for life. I no longer beat myself up if I’m not up at 6am working or nailing a difficult yoga pose. Instead I ask myself “What one thing would make me happy today?”
The irony is that working may make me happy or tackling a tricky yoga pose may also make me truly happy today – but when I approach it in this way, there’s a lightness to it instead of a heaviness. I’m not working because I have to. I’m working because I want to.
When you start to approach life in this way, things start to flow and life becomes effortless. No longer are you forcing yourself to do things that you think you should be doing, you are instead only doing things out of love and passion and excitement. And when you start to work in this way, you find that you start to attract more good things into your life.
It’s all quite obvious when you think about it. Like attracts like. So if you’re coming from a place of passion and excitement, then guess what you will attract more of into your life? More of the same right? It doesn’t have to be viewed as a weird or mysterious way of living. It’s just common sense.
Dr Holden and Success
I recently listened to an interview from Dr Robert Holden and it seems that he has also reached the same conclusion as me. Dr Holden is an expert in happiness and he has also studied the relationship between success and happiness. He brought up a few key points in his interview that I’d like to share. The first is this:
“Happiness creates success, not the other way around.”
I love this. It’s so true. When you are naturally happy about the work that you do, you will no doubt become successful. This is where passion comes into play. The more passionate you are about your work, the easier you will find success in the form of material wealth. I don’t know anyone yet who has said, “As soon as I became successful I became happy.” In-fact it’s usually the other way around. People become successful and its at this point that they wonder “Why am I not happy now?” This leads me nicely onto Dr Holden’s second point:
“Be careful not to become addicted to the destination, because this means that success is always in the future.”
This used to be me. I have always been a high achiever and always had goals that I’ve passionately worked towards. But what I found would happen is that I’d constantly be striving for this goal and then the second I’d get it, I’d immediately forget all about it and be onto the next thing. There was no relishing in the achievement of the goal. I was always striving towards this thing in the future.
I’ve since learned to be passionate about the journey to the goal, because this is where the most learning and development occurs.
Success is whatever you want it to be
So before you get sucked into the universal definition of success, which is a thriving business, 10 houses, a yacht and a collection of cars, perhaps spend a few moments to decide what success means for you.
It might be completely different to everyone else. As Dr Holden says:
“Success is not more effort, it is more clarity.”
So get really clear about what success means for you. The one thing I would definitely urge you to do though, is make sure that happiness is a part of your success story. Because believe me, a happy life is not worth trading in for material success.
Simple Life Strategy: How to Define Your Own Success
1. Spend a few moments thinking about what success means to you.
2. Discard the idea that success means working hard with no fun.
3. Consider success as broader than just material wealth.
4. Think about how your own happiness could power your success.
5. Commit to a life of success and happiness! You don’t have to trade one for the other!
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