Defining Happiness by Redefining Success
In our modern day society’s race to be, do and have more, we have constantly moved forward the boundaries of success. Not surprisingly, we have also falsely learnt to equate success with happiness.
A great falsehood in our modern times is that we can be happy by having more, owning more, achieving more, doing more, and yet when all is said and done, we find ourselves still lacking, still wondering how to fill that empty feeling.
It really falls to us to redefine success and in doing so, hopefully we will be able to find success that paves the way to more happiness in our lives.
Time and time again, I come back to this beautiful poem, often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson but said to be written by Bessie Anderson Stanley.
To laugh often and love much;
to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children;
to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to give of one’s self;
to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived
—this is to have succeeded.
Over to you:
Has your definition of success affected your perception of happiness? If so, how would you define success? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Take Care and Be Happy.
October 25, 2013 @ 5:15 pm
I would say your views of success certainly affect happiness.
Dr. Carol Dweck has a book I read recently called Mindset. The short version is that through a long (20+ years) of experiments she found there were basically two types of mindsets fixed and growth.
Fixed mindsets are just focused on goals, so they get too wrapped up in successes and failures and can be a lot unhappier (and tend to avoid doing things too)
The Growth mindset on the other hand doesn’t worry about success or failure but instead focuses on the process.
In other words: success doesn’t matter if you “do the work” this group is far happier, because they enjoy what they do (and usually achieve success as a result, but often not as the goal.)
It is an interesting book, you might enjoy it.
October 28, 2013 @ 6:23 am
Absolutely SJ! Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts and experience.
It’s interesting to learn about the two extreme mindsets, as defined by Carol Dweck. I’ll definitely look up the book.
I have found myself in both groups, and possibly the range in between at various times in my life.
Have you found yourself more clearly defined in one group vs the other?