We have been told and conditioned for ever that once you are successful in life, you will be happy. Work hard, and you will be happy. Earn more, and you will be happy. Settle in life, and you will be happy. Right, but do we really become happy after doing all this. I guess not. To be happy, we will keep chasing success like a carrot on a stick but to no avail. So, can we say that success cannot guarantee Happiness? Maybe it is too soon to say that.

This Happiness – Success paradigm is a little too complex to understand. You can come across numerous examples of people at the pinnacle of success but are still not happy. The same is with happy people who are still waiting for success to knock on their door. Can it be said that one does not lead to the other?

Although many studies have shown that happier people have a positive mindset, are less stressed and are more likely to get the taste of success. For them, Happiness is not an outcome of any achievement. Yes, being successful adds to their Happiness.

Happiness Set Point

For humans, the ultimate goal of all decisions is to be happy. But why are we not able to stay happy always. First, it is not possible to be happy always. Humans were never wired for Happiness. They were wired for survival. Second, as soon as we achieve something, we become happy, stay that way for a while and then again recede to the previous level of Happiness. It is termed as Happiness Set Point. A term used to describe our general level of Happiness is unique to each of us. We all have different set points, and some people, who seem to be happier than others, have naturally higher happiness set points.

So, we need to understand that Happiness is a fluid state, not something constant. It is a state of subjective well-being. It is an individual attribute.

Success is a destination

Success is objective, comparable and measurable. We can be successful in one aspect of life like work, wealth, relationships, health and not in another. Happiness is holistic. We are happy when we are happy, not in any particular way. If I ask you a question, “Are you successful?” You will think of success in terms of career, relationships, health, wealth and maybe something else. But when I ask you a question, “Are you Happy?” I guess your answer will be either Yes or No. You will not think in any other terms.

In your journey of life, success will come as a destination or result of the efforts you had put in, but Happiness will be in all those moments you lived during the journey, the process, the struggles, and the small wins. Happiness is an emotion, whereas success is not an emotion. Your emotions are in your control. You can choose them, but you cannot choose success.

We may like to believe that success makes us happy. It is true. No denying that, but it is short-lived. We, humans, are perpetually in search of little more, wanting to touch the infinity. This little more makes Happiness a pursuit. We can say that Happiness and success are akin to the chicken and the egg. What comes first? This debate will always be there.

If you want to measure your success, then a good way to think is how you want people to remember you at your funeral.

For sure, you would not like to be remembered as a person with maximum wealth and fame but how you contributed to enriching the lives of others. You can only give what you have. Success is never yours alone. You cannot give it. But Happiness is more of a personal thing. It grows with sharing.

We can’t debate as to what leads to what. But Happiness can make the journey towards success much easier.

“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”
Dale Carnegie

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