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Friday, 3 May 2019

Success and Happiness Are Not the Same

As we grow up, we're told that reaching goals, specially the highest ones, will bring us happiness. Get the best grades, graduate from the best university, obtain the best jobs... And we launch ourselves to the task at hand. But let's now look back. How many of you REALLY felt happy while doing all that? How many of you felt relief instead of happiness? How many of you TRULY felt satisfied upon getting the best grades, graduating from university and obtaining the best jobs? How long did you feel that satisfaction?

We reach one goal to immediately set the next one in a never-ending race to always get the best and grandest. We want to succeed. We want to reach the top. But let's not fool ourselves. That has nothing to do with happiness, does it? The journey to those goals is most often not a very pleasant one: the long hours, the accumulated stress, the demands on our health and time... We invest so much of ourselves that there's nothing left to enjoy.
And what about reaching the top? What top? There's always another top upon the last one, isn't there? It's just never enough.
And still the world insists on selling us the idea that success equals happiness.

Truly happy people, on the other hand, consider themselves successful just the way they are; it couldn't be any other way, as it would mean lacking something and thus, by definition, feeling unhappy. They don't need to join the constant race for the best and the greatest. Depending on their personal definition of happiness, enjoying life and feeling content and satisfied might already represent success to them.

Some people include success into their definition of happiness, true. That's their choice. Happiness is a very subjective concept. The only question they then need to answer is how successful they need to be to consider themselves successful enough and thus happy.

So let's start calling things by their correct names. Success is one thing. Happiness is something else. And they don't necessarily come together.

Next time somebody tells you that in order to be happy you need to be successful, ask yourself what it is that YOU want from life. After all, you're the only one who can answer that question. And if the answer is to be successful, by all means, go for it. But don't pretend to be pursuing happiness. Be honest to yourself.

And whatever you do, enjoy life, ALL of it,

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