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
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