A really important question, maybe THE most important question you could ever ask, is what is the link between success and happiness? …and where does money come into it, if at all?
“Will success make me happy, will being happy doing something lead to being successful at it, and can you have one without the other?” I suspect that you can be successful without being happy, but what about being happy without being successful?
I think the best way to unpick this is to realise that there are two types of success: public success and private, which you could also call outer and inner success. Outer success is about being successful in the eyes of the world – which usually involves money, and perhaps fame or power. Inner success is more about doing what YOU want to do, regardless of what the world thinks, and this is more linked to happiness and less to money.
Of course, being privately successful could lead to money as well, but it’s much more driven by the happiness first. And being publicly successful, outer success, could lead to happiness as well as money, as shown on this next diagram:
……although often it doesn’t. There seem to be quite a few rock stars and politicians (even Prime Ministers and Presidents!) and people at the top of companies who are successful in the eyes of the world, but who still aren’t happy – maybe they feel they still haven’t achieved what they want to achieve, or what they are capable of achieving, or having got there they have found it’s not quite how they expected. And there are some people who aim for outer success and don’t even get the money part, let alone the happiness – the world of public success is pretty competitive and there’s not room for everyone!
So I’m thinking it’s better to ignore the world’s opinion and head towards inner success – succeeding at something that YOU believe is worthwhile.
Something like coaching the local kids football team and winning most of your matches – that would make you feel successful on your own terms, and probably make you happy too. Or writing a book and uploading it to amazon kindle – it doesn’t have to be a best seller, just to know it’s there and some people have bought it and read it and enjoyed it, that’s a form of success, a very satisfying form I’d say. Or, going up a bit from that, imagine if you had helped an African village to build a school, you might not have made any money at all but you would have increased their happiness, and also your own, and if that isn’t success I don’t know what is. And it may lead to some form of income for you in some way, in fact I bet it would, if you wanted to go down that route.
Or how about catching your dream fish while fishing in Venice, like this guy??
That’s happiness and success right there.
So: What’s yours going to be?
Onwards und upwards