Does Success Make you Happy?

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does success equal happiness

Does Success Really Make You Happy?


Does success make you happy?

It’s easy to simplify happiness and claim that it’s obvious that successful people are happy.

However, if you really interviewed 100 successful people, you may be surprised that a large percentage of them are not as happy as you think they ought to be.

The fact is, you can be a millionaire, have a wonderful spouse, great kids, and everything you think you want and still be unhappy.

This is so evident in the media of today. Every other day we get to hear about some celebrity we assume “has it all” but has either committed suicide, divorced, or checked themselves into a rehab center.

So does being successful make you happy? The truth of the matter is –  it is exactly the other way around. Happiness Fuels Success.


What is Success?

For most people, the word success is usually equated with financial abundance. This seems to be societies measuring stick. However, it is important to bear in mind that success can mean different things to different people.

This is largely due to the values you hold. It’s what gives you purpose. Whether it’s being a mom, saving the rhinos, or being an accountant. There is no one-size-fits-all. You get to decide what success looks like for you. 

So although this article is largely speaking to the mainstream definition of material success, its basic premise holds true – happiness fuels success.

Once you find what lights you up and infuse it with happiness – you can’t NOT be successful.


Some correlations between Personal Success and Happiness 

· Happiness Is Not About Wealth 

Everyone knows someone who has plenty of money but is not happy and maybe even hateful. They seem to have everything but happiness. Because of this fact, it’s clear that being happy doesn’t always directly correlate to the circumstances you find yourself in regarding your bank account balance.

So does success make you happy? This Harvard Study of 4000 Millionaires revealed something surprising about Money and Happiness.


· Happiness Colors the Lens by Which You See Life 

The surprising truth about happiness is that if you practice happiness it will begin to affect how you see everything in the world. You’ll be able to pick out the most positive things no matter the situation.


· Happiness is About Today 

Happiness is really all about today. We can even say that happiness is in each moment. If you’re happy today, you’re more likely to eat right, move more, get your work done, and do everything well. Naturally, that is going to affect the future too.


· Happiness is a Mindset 

It’s hard to imagine it is true, but it is. Happiness is about your mindset. Thankfully, with work, you can train your mindset to be happier and more positive despite your current circumstances.

While bad things do happen to good people and can bring them down, the truth is that happiness can be experienced by anyone. This is regardless of where they are in life right now in terms of their success. It just requires that you accept that you can be happy, right now, without anything changing while also developing plans to make positive changes.



Correlations between Work, Happiness, and Success

· Happiness Leads to More Productivity 

When people are happy with the work, they do they tend to be willing to do it a lot more, even for free. Assuming other needs (food, shelter, health) are met a happy person can find joy doing the most mundane things because they can focus on outcomes instead of just what they are doing.

It is interesting to note that so many people who volunteer at organizations aren’t necessarily rich or hugely “successful. The majority are average people like you and me, who are capable of doing amazing things.

Here is an interesting  Forbes article that lists the 7 traits of amazing volunteers. 


· Happiness Leads to Higher Profits

 In companies that keep their employees happy by offering a living wage, benefits, and a flexible schedule the profits tend to be a lot higher. One reason is that when a person feels respected in their job even if the work is hard, they are happier about doing it.

As written in Forbes magazine, probably one of the best examples of this is the company Google – both in terms of profit and staff happiness.


· Happiness Leads to Stability

 When people are happy, they tend to be a lot more stable, stick to tasks longer, and are more likely to complete an assignment. In addition, they tend to job hop a lot less. This is one reason smart employers know that by making work a happy place they can reduce turnover.


· Happiness Leads to a Higher Work Ethic 

Most people think of work ethic as something you must suffer to experience, but happy people tend to stick to their jobs longer and work even harder. The main reason is that they have the energy to do it and can envision the outcomes more positively.


The fisherman and the businessman

There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”

classic Brazilian story, probably also present in other cultures. Someone found the English version, but I could not identify the translator



Concluding thoughts

So to answer the question does success make you happy?

The answer is it is highly unlikely.

Being happy within yourself first, regardless of outside or material circumstances, would be a greater predictor of not only what society labels as ” a success” but also your chances of becoming financially successful.

And, it helps if you work for it – rather than inherit it – or steal it! Just saying.


PS. Watch this free training if you want to increase both your Success AND Happiness.


Related Articles:

The Real Reason Happiness is a State of Mind

5 Key Ways to Develop A Success Mindset

Does Success Make you Happy?



Does Success Make you happy?

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