Why Success Doesn’t Always Lead To Happiness

by Paul Hudson

Success and happiness — what more can one strive for? The two seem to come almost hand in hand; if we can achieve one, we expect the other to come as almost a freebie. That may very well be the case, but not necessarily. The order in which either one is achieved does make a difference in whether or not the other is to follow shortly.

From my understanding, most people seem to have their belief-set a bit backwards. The most common belief is that when reaching that elusive plateau of success, one is to find a cup full of happiness — sort of like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case; in fact, it’s usually not the case at all. If you are looking for a two-for-one deal, then it’s best not to start with success and expect happiness to follow suit. The correct way to go about things is to find happiness first and then achieve success.

Happiness is hard to come by — harder to come by than a ten-dollar hooker with all her teeth. But it can be achieved, or found, or created or however else you can think to come by it. That’s the funny thing about happiness: there is no one, set formula. Each person’s happiness and ways of achieving it are different, customized to each individual’s wants and needs.

Nevertheless, it is possible to be happy — or so I hear. The most common mistake that people make is thinking, or rather believing, that happiness can be achieved by attaining something else. People spend fortunes buying houses, cars, yachts, drugs and women all in hopes of finally being happy.

You can’t buy happiness. Happiness is free — you just have to come by it. Objects can bring you satisfaction and possibly even short spurts of joy, but never true happiness.

It’s as if someone is playing one big joke on the human kind. You want happiness? No problem…I’ll give it to you free of charge. But you have to find it first. *Insert evil laugh* Many people have realized that physical objects will fail to conjure up any happiness within them, so rather than focusing on things, they focus on situations and circumstances.

The most popular of which is the achievement of success. If you find success, you will find happiness, right? Wrong. The funny thing about success is that it is a never-ending battle. What is success exactly? Sure, we set goals for ourselves and when we complete those goals we experience a certain feeling of success.

However, what follows is only more work to achieve our next goal. I feel as if people do not realize that life is full of endless goals, endless wants and endless urges. If you achieve one goal, you will have another, and then another and another and another and… You get the idea.

It’s a rather irrational way of thinking. We may very well find ourselves feeling as if we’ve achieved success at some point in our lives, but being unhappy prior to the event, we will find ourselves unhappy after the fact. So we will set another goal for ourselves and fight endlessly in hopes of achieving a level of success that will finally make us happy. I am here to tell you that success will not make you happy.

It’s not a matter of success that you need to worry about — in fact, success will not feel like success unless you are happy prior to achieving it. In my mind, and I am assuming that the same goes for most of you, success must necessarily be associated with the feeling of happiness. But if achieving a goal will not bring you happiness, than ipso facto, achieving a goal and not being happy will not give you the full feeling of success either.

So how does one find happiness? It’s sort of a trick question. You can’t find happiness. Happiness is not something that can be achieved after completing a set of tasks, like success. Happiness is not something that can be bought or received. Happiness is a state and therefore it must simply be. You should not ask yourself what will make you happy, but rather how can you ‘be’ happy.

What is needed in order for you right at this very moment to simply be happy? Do you really need to achieve success? Do you really need a couple of more drinks or a line of cocaine? Do you need to sleep with that girl sitting next to you at the bar — sorry, leaning against you and drooling on the bar? What do you need in order to be happy?

If we were to all just take some time to sit down, clear our minds of all the crap that we fill them with — all the things that we want, all our problems, all the stuff that in reality doesn’t matter one f*cking bit — then we would come to realize that we do not need much, if anything at all, in order to be happy.

Happiness is hidden in the best hiding spot possible: in plain sight -- inside of each of us. If you want to find happiness, then find out what is minimally and truly necessary for you to be happy. Be honest with yourself. You will most likely find that you do not need anything at all and that all that it takes for you to be happy is to decide consciously to JUST BE HAPPY.

Paul Hudson | Elite.