happiness & success

Why Happiness Is Part of My Definition of Success

Conventional thought is that once you are successful, then you will “have” everything you need to be happy. Following this train of thought, are you supposed to be unhappy and unfulfilled in life until you get that promotion, or a bigger car is a mistake? Tying your happiness to achieving your goals almost guarantees you’ll never be happy.

  “A man wants to earn money in order to be happy, and his whole effort and the best of a life are devoted to the earning of that money. Happiness is forgotten; the means are taken for the end.” ― Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

A hamster on a wheel

 Have you noticed that there are always more goals to achieve? As soon as you get that job, your eye is on the next promotion. Setting goals and achieving them is important but waiting to be happy until you’re successful is like chasing butterflies. Like the butterfly just out of reach, there will always be another position, another “it” thing, another vanity measure that you’ll need to achieve.

 Chasing that next big thing never allows you to simply be and enjoy what you have. We know that contentment and gratitude are a large part of happiness. When you’re on that hamster wheel, you are focused on what’s next. You’re chasing a dream that may or may not even be truly yours. Do you frequently experience FOMO (fear of missing out)? When you participate in whatever the “thing” is - do you feel happy or are you already looking forward to the next thing?

hamster wheel

Image by Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Happiness breeds success

 Philosopher Bertrand Russell said that “The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life.” But he went on: “I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy; I mean that if you are happy you will be good.” If you want to be successful, don’t hang around and wait to find happiness; start there instead.

 There’s increasing evidence that happy people tend to be more successful. By focusing on being happy and living life on their terms, they are already successful. Martin Seligman, a pioneer of positive psychology proposes that happiness has three dimensions that can be cultivated: the Pleasant Life, the Good Life, and the Meaningful Life. What are your greatest strengths? Think of that as your superpower and use it in your relationships and social interactions. This enhances our sense of fulfillment by contributing to something more than ourselves.

 Choosing happiness in your current circumstances creates greater self-confidence. You will act and talk like you’ve already made it. And that sort of confidence is contagious and inspiring. Simply by choosing to be happy you have a competitive edge!

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
- Albert Schweitzer

Success is what you make it

 Ask ten people for their definition of success, and you’ll get ten different answers. For some people, it is the consumer dream of an executive job, a fancy car, and a big house. For others, it will be the freedom to travel or paint or write or own their own business. For example: Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, believes success is engagement. Poet and author Maya Angelou believes success is enjoying your work, and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh says success is living in line with your values.

 Probably the most important decision you’ll make is to define what success means for you. And the most meaningful success is to choose what makes you happy. What is your passion? What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning? Remember happiness is a mindset. It is not a destination. “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” — Dale Carnegie

 It’s up to you to decide what is going to make you happy. It’s still okay to want to have the trappings of success but think about why you want them. Chances are it’s the feeling you want rather than the thing itself. If you think making more money will make you feel secure, or enable you to travel or support your favorite cause, maybe there are other ways you can do those things right now? Maybe you can volunteer for your charity, or choose cheaper vacation options, or start a savings plan.


Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

There’s no need to delay being happy until you’ve reached a level of material success. You can choose to be happy right now and find contentment in the things that already make you feel good!

Share/Comment & Subscribe

 I hope you enjoyed this article. Please leave a comment or share it to help someone else through their journey with change. Is it time for you to pivot? Change is difficult and you don't have to walk that path alone. Subscribe to my newsletter to get inspired and take action towards becoming a better you.

AudiobooksNow - Digital Audiobooks for Less


  • Angel Lewis

    Hello there! I'm Angel, an entrepreneur and writer who grew up in rural North Carolina and now resides in Virginia. My love for writing began during my time at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. Over the past couple of years, I've authored two nonfiction books in the personal development genre. Along with writing for adults, I also created 'Ready. Set. Fly!', a children's book that inspires self-confidence and resilience. When I'm not writing, I enjoy gardening, reading, playing games, and spending time with those closest to me.

Please follow and like us:

10 thoughts on “Why Happiness Is Part of My Definition of Success

  1. Great positive message. We had a very successful business for 53 years before retiring and we were super happy. Not just because it was successful but because we loved what we were doing. So yes, happiness brings on success.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Being in business for over 50 years is amazing. Congrats on that milestone and joining that elite club called “the retired”. I hope the next phase of your journey brings as much happiness as the one preceding it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.