It takes a lot of work to be successful, it takes a ton of hope to be happy, and you have to be able to really push yourself in order to obtain either goal. There will be highs and lows and in-betweens, and a lot of us will constantly question whether or not everything is worth the risk. Bottom line: you need to have a lot of faith in yourself.
Faith. Trust. And just a little bit of pixie dust.
Okay, maybe I’ve watched a little too much Peter Pan throughout my life, but I’m dead serious about the first two. I feel like if you can’t put faith and trust in yourself, how are you supposed to be able to do anything for yourself? You even need those things in order to—how the kids say—wing it. Otherwise, you’re screwed.
The paths to happiness and success are practically parallel to each other; they are very similar, if not the same. And some people equate the two things; they say that they will be happy as long as they have success. Which, honestly, sounds great. If somebody can be happy as long as they have success, good for them. Not too many people would agree with that.
Because success means making a lot of money, and having a lot of money means buying and investing in things. And once money is involved in well, anything, things get complicated. You’re not sure who likes you for you, and life can get lonely if all you’ve focused on was success.
A lot of people who are successful, who didn’t look for happiness along the way, end up being depressed human beings. And I’m not saying that out of assumptions or judgment—it just sounds like a sad life to have all these cool and exciting things, and not really have anyone to share that with.
Which sounds kind of cliché, but they’re called clichés for a reason: it has deemed true for too many people.
There are other people that look for their happiness, without focusing on becoming successful. They want an okay job that can pay the bills, but that’s not where their determination lies; it lies in finding their passions and those to share them with. Some of those people do end up becoming successful along the way, but a lot of others don’t. Instead, they settle on a cute house and a spouse and a couple of kids. Which is The American Dream, for most people.
Not everybody becomes successful, and not everybody finds their happiness. There are even some people out there who can’t seem to obtain either. I don’t think that success is what’s most important, but if I find some along the way of finding my happiness, then I think I would be living a pretty damn good version of The American Dream.
But a part of me also wonders: isn’t finding happiness the definition of success? I think that I would feel successful if I was happy with how my life turns out. If I had the nice house, a spouse, and a couple of kids, I would be happy with that. Sure, I also really want a job that I could look forward to everyday, that would also make me enough money to not worry about the bills; but I don’t think it’s truly worth it if I do it alone.
I think in real, true happiness, we find success. Success could possibly make a handful of people happy, but I find that that kind of happiness is very temporary. I know that a lot of the time, it’s the bigger picture we focus on, and the destination we set our minds to. But I think that if we can learn to appreciate the little things that come along in our journeys, we will be able to find some degree of happiness.
And I don’t know about you, but I think that finding that happiness would be an awfully big adventure.
Prompt: What do you want more out of life: happiness or success?