How do you become happy and successful?
I can tell you with certainty that it isn’t by setting concrete goals and working endlessly to achieve them.
If happiness and success came down to saying “I want to be a software engineer making $85,000+ a year.”, anyone willing to put in the effort could probably achieve it in a fairly short period of time. The question is, what do you do after you’ve achieved that goal? Do it forever? Will it really make you feel happy the majority of the time? No.
Life is Integrated.
Happiness won’t come (and stay) just because you have a good job or a family you love. Those make happiness more accessible, for moments here and there – but alone, they aren’t enough to sustain it.
All aspects of your life must be integrated for you to be happy and successful.
In part 1, I defined life success as:
A state of happiness resulting from the productive pursuits of one’s interests – where every life decision integrates core values and beliefs.
But what is happiness, and what is meant by a “state of happiness”?
Have you ever engaged with children trying to learn something? It’s almost impossible not to be happy as you watch them grasp new ideas and integrate them, laughing and running all along the way. It doesn’t matter how bad your life might be, children can almost always bring a moment of happiness into your life.
When you leave them, that happiness may last for a few minutes or hours, but eventually the reality of your life sets back in. There is a big difference between being momentarily happy and being in a state of happiness. The former is fleeting, while the latter is a result of many hours of hard work and commitment to yourself.
I see happiness as follows:
An emotional feeling of pleasure or contentment; often a result of good company or a particular activity.
With that definition in mind, to become happy you can put yourself into a situation that makes you feel good, or surround yourself with people who make you feel lighthearted and content. But clearly sustaining your life requires that you do more than stick yourself into pleasurable spots to feel temporarily happy. That approach just is not sustainable.
Before I define happiness as a state of being (in Part 3), here are some questions for you to consider:
What do I want to change in the world?
What do I love doing?
What type of people do I want in my life?
How can I become the best version of myself?
What experiences do I want to have?
Catch up on the series:
Part 1 – “The Life You Desire Can Be Created”
Part 2 - "Happiness Can Be Fleeting"
Part 3 - "Creating the Good Life" (Coming Soon)