Happiness = Success

So often we confuse the equation between happiness and success. We assume that success = happiness. When we have the job we want, the financial stability we want, when we move out of our parents’ house, when we have kids, when we adopt a dog, when we get past this hump, when we figure things out, when we move to a better location, we will find happiness.

The truth is the equation actually goes like this: happiness = success.

When you are happy with what you have in the present moment, your outlook changes. You become more approachable, positive, healthier. This opens new doorways for you.

Shawn Achor in his TED Talk discusses why success does not equal happiness. He explains this is because we never reach success. Sure, we may bask in our promotion for a few months or revel in our new relationship or rejoice in our new car. But our car soon becomes outdated or breaks, we start searching for the next promotion, or the “hype” of a new relationship fades. So we have to pile on more and more and more success to constantly feel happy. It’s like a drug. As Shawn Achor says in the Talk, “If happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there.”

I strongly advise watching the TED Talk and challenging the way you view the world. I know I constantly fall into the trap of equating my happiness with my success. Maybe if I get a better job, earn more, have more friends, train my dog better, move out, etc., etc., etc. It has to stop. I can personally say accomplishing things makes me happy . . . but the happiness doesn’t stay very long.

Over the past few months, I’ve been learning to find inner happiness. I meditate, journal, and honor myself with my decisions. I create, use grounding exercises to appreciate the moment, and foster positive interactions with others. Those are things I can come back to even if external circumstances aren’t ideal. And, in many cases, this inner happiness changes the way I view my external circumstances and how I react to them (which means my source of happiness is more accessible and reliable than before).

It’s time to challenge the equation that success = happiness. We can be happy now. And once we are, not only will our quality of life improve, but it will open up a world of opportunities.

Challenge!: The article I link to above includes 5 different exercises you can complete to increase your happiness: creating a gratitude list, journaling, exercising, meditating, and committing a random act of kindness. Pick one and try it out three times this week. Note how it does or doesn’t affect your mood. The TED Talk says to do the practices for 2 minutes a day for 21 days. If you feel this would be helpful, commit to these exercises for the next 21 days!

What are some other things that contribute to your happiness? How can you shift the equation from success = happiness to happiness = success in your own life? Please share below! I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂


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