Linking success and happiness

I originally posted this piece on Facebook in 2009. It was my very first attempt at writing a blog type post. I got some positive feedback regarding the post but it’s kinda embarrassing reading it now. Please don’t be too critical ;-).

Introduction

The other day I was wondering about the relationship between success and happiness, and the barriers to achieving it. I decided to create this note to put my thoughts into perspective and more importantly, inspire readers, or at least try to inspire them to be successful.

Before we continue we first have to define what success is. Many people would define it differently. Some would say that wealth, awards and achievements determine success. It is my opinion however that success is measured by your level of happiness. You may have all the money in the world, but may not be happy. This would not make you much less different, emotionally, to someone who has to beg for money in order to survive.

What are the barriers to becoming successful?

I have heard many inspiring words from many individuals on achieving success but most of them made no significant impact on my views on achieving it. I never really went out of my way to find an answer to this question because I always had this belief that I’ll just “go with the flow” and “take things as they come”. It has become more apparent to me however that I need to find an answer to this question. It all started quite recently and seemed like an ordinary day in class, my lecturer, however, decided to give the class a motivational speech and what he had to say was very profound. He was speaking about phobias and used the fear of heights as an example. He said that people who have a fear of heights feel as if they are being pulled over the edge so they have to prevent themselves from falling. Although I do not have a fear of heights I can see how this relates to my own phobias. He then went on to say that it works the same for people who have a fear of failing. If you have a fear of failing, that fear pulls you in and you normally end up failing. I wish someone had told me this when I started high school, but now I am sharing it with you and hope that it is a bit useful.

How can happiness be achieved?

I am still searching for an answer to this question but I do have a few theories. These theories haven’t been tested yet because I haven’t tried them yet. But in my opinion, people are unhappy because of their own inadequacies. No one is perfect but we are always unhappy about one or more things concerning our character or physical traits. We should first learn to live with ourselves and accept that imperfections are a part of who we are before we can be truly happy. If you would really like to change something that you may see as a fault then that can also be done, by setting realistic and written goals. In a book I read, the author spoke about setting goals. He suggested that we should try to underachieve rather than overachieve. He gave an example of a person who just started going to gym. We have all heard of people who just started going to gym and spending hours there from the first day. After the first week or so they begin to feel overwhelmed. He then suggested that instead of spending hours in the gym why not just spend 20 minutes there and force yourself to stick to it. This will make you feel underwhelmed rather than overwhelmed. One thing that I do not like about myself is the fact that I’m so quiet and people are always reminding me of it. So maybe I’ll set myself a goal of speaking to two new people a week. The number of people per week can then gradually be increased as I am feeling more and more underwhelmed.

Conclusion

So those are my thoughts. I would like to end off by saying that the message I am actually trying to convey is: Strive to live with yourself, for happiness will follow and success will follow shortly. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and feel free to comment.

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