how to be happy

Why Success is Happiness

The pursuit of success is a natural human drive. We all desire success in one form or another. Perhaps you want to get a promotion, or run a successful business, or be respected for your art. But if we are going to put a good deal of our energy into achieving a goal, it’s worth taking the time to ask ourselves whether the goal is worth attaining. If we ask our selves why we wish to achieve anything, the inevitable answer is that we believe it will make us happy. Now we must ask ourselves if this is true, and whether there might be a quicker route to happiness, and most importantly, whether the pursuit of this future happiness is jeopardizing our happiness today.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle proposed an experiment about happiness. He said that if you ask anyone why they are doing what they are doing their ultimate answer will be because it makes them happy. A person starting up her own business might initially say she wants to make money and have more freedom. Ask her why and she’ll say because it will let her spend more quality time with her family, ask her again and she say that this quality time will bring her happiness.

We all pursue happiness most of the time every day. But we rarely stop and ask ourselves – are we pursuing it in the most efficient way? We’ll examine how efficient our business plan is, or our work schedule, or our golf drive, but we don’t stop to look at whether we are efficiently moving towards happiness. In order to achieve the goal of happiness you should consider asking yourself whether your life map is leading you towards happiness by the fastest route.

The title of this article is powerful. Understanding the idea could make your life easier. We all want success, and we all want happiness. So what happens when we unify these two powerful ideas? Two words, with one meaning. Success and happiness are the same.

For me realizing this has been a very liberating process. The old me who was stressed, addicted to work, constantly traveling and never arriving, has been allowed to relax. I no longer pursue my goals with the same fanaticism or fervor. Is this a good thing? A lot of people are attached to fervor, believing that with great motivation comes great rewards. I disagree, because I recognize that the more I want something, the more I push it away. In fact, through letting go of our attachment to outcomes, we become more likely to achieve our goals, and moreover, we become more likely to be happy.

Don’t burn out your life living like a fanatic. Take a good look at your map, and ask yourself, if it leads you to happiness. It shouldn’t take long to reach happiness because happiness is never far away. A few minutes of mediation, spending an afternoon with your family, playing some sport with old friends – these are the things that will bring you happiness today. It’s easy to be happy, as long as you are willing to let go of your intense desires, and let things be. Find your patience, find your inner peace, and realize that happiness is right here, right now, waiting patiently for you :)

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Alex Markham is a life coach and creator of www.InspiredPrimate.co.uk. His passion is learning what makes people happy, and sharing ideas for living the happy life. Check out Inspired Primate to learn more about how to be happy.

Photo credit: ‘Happiness‘ by Big Stock

  • http://changebasics.blogspot.in/ Jaky Astik

    Success is happiness. Big deal.

  • Dennis Fahey

    Interesting post.  A Buddhist take on this would be that striving is always a source of suffering and that “success” lies in letting go of striving.  I find this highly persuasive but, alas, I continue to strive.  www.learningmaverick.com

  • taryn

    i utterly and totally agree fanaticism or fervor will make us a little bit exhausted

  • David Fuchs

    Well said: meditation is key to happiness. In my personal experience though the best way to achieve results from a meditation practice is to use binaural entrainment technology, this will accomplish the task much faster and in a much more powerful way.

    Bottom line is this: in order to be happy all the time, you need increased levels of awareness. I have been depressed for many years, and it’s only been the technological meditation process that’s started to allow me to be happier in every moment.

    Controlling the mind comes from taming it, and that is the source of happiness.

  • Sarah

    Sometimes I think, too, we have to stop and ask if what we’re really pursuing is our OWN happiness…or if we’ve been conditioned to live in ways to make others happy (but that we ourselves do not enjoy). Enjoyed the article!

    • Alex

      Couldn’t agree more :) – Alex

  • Uday

    Although I agree with the description on this article, the tittle is somewhat misleading and it need not be true all the time. In my opinion, Its Happiness which leads to success and its not necessarily the other way around. Because a Happy mind thrives to achieve  good results. Its not guaranteed that success will always make you happy. Because there is no point in getting promotion on the day of your break up. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=839059453 Abdulhalim Bambang

    Be happy. :)

  • http://www.balanceddaily.com/8-great-food-substitutions-to-make-recipes-healthier/ Christine@BalancedDaily

    “Now we must ask ourselves if this is true, and whether
    there might be a quicker route to happiness, and most importantly, whether the
    pursuit of this future happiness is jeopardizing our happiness today.” Very
    powerful quote!! It definitely makes me evaluate myself and my reason for
    happiness.

  • Edwardabenitez

    Actually it is an illusion. We are relying on these things to make us happy. Driving towards a goal (ex own business) is a test of our endurance, faith, appreciation, becoming aware of one skill etc . One of the sufficient ways to achieve a goal is to be happy with one self and their life of pursuing their dreams. Happiness should be everyday and accepting one self. I have meet a lot of people who have succeeded in creating their own business but it turned out that it was not what they were hoping it to be and they were not happy.  
    What happens if we rely on these things and we dont achieve…. we of course become unhappy. So if you change your mindset about dreams then you have an awesome time going after them including the down times or challenging times. Happiness is more of how your life will turn out to be. Happiness brings a different view towards life then being unhappy;

  • Darlene Chrissley

    Yes and there are so many paths to happiness.  The path of paying attention to the moment is the most efficient path.  But after a spell of contemplation it can also feel good to venture out into the world to learn new things, test ourselves against challenges and feel the pride of achievement and growth that never comes except when we stretch, climb to new heights and experience the perspective shift that is created at each new elevation, bring new things into being by visioning them and then persevering through trial and error as we figure out how to bridge the gap between what we can imagine and what we can make.  I like the work fulfillment because it takes in all of this.

  • Happy Monster, Malaysia

    Happiness = Achievement= Success
    But more often than not, we only think that happiness is a destination or an objective. What we always overlook is that happiness is also enjoying the journey to our goal.

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