Will you be happy when you are successful in your life, or will you be successful when you are happy?
Most people live most of their life thinking things like “I’ll feel better once I do X”, or “I’ll be happy once I have achieved Y.” Do you judge your success by whether you have particular things, wear certain clothes, or drive a particular car, have this or that job or degree?
In fact, this is the way we are often conditioned to think every day, especially by advertisers and providers who want us to associate the acquisition of a new fast car or a new home with achieving a higher degree of satisfaction in life.
Now don’t get me wrong. I take pleasure in nice cars, beautiful houses, and wearing the finest clothes. The thing is that acquisition of these things won’t give you any lasting happiness, and it is usually the desire to be happy that drives us towards success to gain the things and experiences we want.
Think back to the last time you thought like this and acted on that thought. How long did the satisfaction last? Was it a minute, a day, or maybe a week?
What followed the loss of this feeling? Was it emptiness, dissatisfaction, or just the general feeling of wanting more? How long did it take for that new desire to arise?
Thinking like this only defers our happiness and success because it is never really something that can last. It is always out there, never here and now, except for that fleeting moment. Because of this we become addicted to short term fixes to give us the sensation of happiness, however fleeting it might be. I used to always do this
Rather than chasing success to become happy, learn to cultivate happiness. Knowing that true success follows happiness is wisdom and power. Think about it for a minute. When you are genuinely happy, how does this effect that way you work, or the way in which you interact with people all around you? When you’re happy, how do you respond to bumps in the road, or unforeseen events? When you’re happy how much more clearly do you think? How is your general condition of health?
People who are happy are like magnets for success. And the effect is cumulative, so the happier you become the more success you will attract towards you and the happier you will become. Saying that success in this case will increase your happiness is true because your success is built on a foundation of happiness and abundance rather than wanting and poverty.
I’ve spent many years in and around universities. Like many other environments, universities hold out a vast array of awards, scholarships, and honours for those who succeed. Those who build a healthy and sustainable life are those that love what they do. They love the enquiry, the teaching, and the lifestyle that comes with the job. Many times also I’ve witnessed and experienced first-hand how success in its various forms comes to those who already have a track record of success, starting from the earliest days as an undergraduate student if not earlier. Awards, promotions, and honours are not given out to help people feel better about themselves. They are given to award what has already been done.
There are those who do not love what they do and get through, they might even do well, but their success will be limited. No matter what work you are in, cultivating passion for what you do, and of course, doing what gives you the most joy is the only way to create lasting happiness and pave the way for success to find you.
And success will find you. Success is always looking for its compliment. Success is drawn to happiness just like a bee is drawn to honey. This is the law of attraction at work, and this law never fails. It’s as certain as any other law of nature.
So, you ask, “how do I cultivate happiness?” Well, this is a great question and asking it is the first step. What do you do that makes you feel happy, that gives you joy?
I experience joy when I share loving moments with my wife, and those who are close to me. I experience joy when I taste beautiful food, or lovely wine. I also experience joy when I empower people to live with joy and show them how to become truly great.
How do you experience joy? What do you need to do to experience more on a consistent basis?