Real success

Real success lies in how you are on the inside

Its not dependent on how much wealth or fame you have, but on how much you are at peace with yourself.

We want to be successful because we hope that the more we accumulate and the more famous we become, the better we will feel on the inside, but that may be an illusion, created by our thinking.

We often assume the person who is rich and famous, and who has a big house and expensive holidays must be happy and if we could afford that we would be happier. Why? Have we ever paused to consider that wealth may not make people happier? (though poverty can make you unhappy).

Just ask Jim Carey who said ‘I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that its not the answer’

This article explores why we have this powerful urge to be successful and if it cannot bring the lasting happiness we seek, what can? Chasing success is not wrong, but it may not deliver on its promise of making us happy. Of course we all need to earn an income to look after our physical needs and our loved ones, but real happiness comes from the inside. I hear someone say recently - Happiness is an inside job.

At present 1 in 4 people have a mental health problem, 1 in 6 a substance abuse problem, 1 in 10 are depressed, 42% are obese, and more than half our relationships are unhappy (US data, but similar worldwide). Is that success? Even if one of our relationships is unhappy we cannot be happy, no matter how wealthy we are.

I asked some 17 years olds in the school what they wanted from their life ahead. All of them, with one exception said they wanted to be rich and famous.

Why’ I asked.

’Because that will make us happy’ they said.

Why aren’t you happy now’ I asked.

Because happiness is hard’ they said.

‘If you are not happy now, why do you think you will be in the future’ I asked.

There was no answer.

Why hasn’t any one of you said you want to be healthy’ I asked.

‘Because we already are’ they said.

So do we want what we don’t already have, and take what we do have for granted’ I asked.

Yes’ they said.

We are programmed from a young age to chase success in the world in the hope it will make us happy, but that inner happiness often eludes us. We are told we will be recognised as successful if we are better than others and wealthy or famous - so we chase those dreams in the hope that will make us happy. Every milestone we achieve, every exam we pass, or promotion we get, makes us feel good for a short time, and then the feeling passes, and we are left feeling empty again. Our conditioning pushes us to chase the next milestone, and this is how we spend our lives, until we arrive at the top of our imagined mountain, as president of this, or head of that, or rich and famous, and discover our hearts are still empty, and wonder where we went wrong. To numb the pain we feel we may turn to drink or drugs, and a downward spiral begins. So many rich and famous people have walked that well trodden path.

In the pursuit of success we may not have looked after our health or paid enough attention to our relationships and may find both in disarray, further contributing to our unhappiness. In any pursuit there is always the chance of disappointment and failure, and that can make us stressed, anxious, or depressed. Or we may compare ourselves with others, and feel less than them and think our lives are a failure, when in fact we may have much to be grateful for. It is a paradox that the journey to success which we thought would make us happier, may in fact end up doing the opposite.

To understand what is going on in our mind we need to be curious and understand the many hidden drivers in our own thinking that create this framework in which we live our lives. Understanding these drivers can help us take charge of our own lives, and live a more balanced, happier life.

We are all influenced (conditioned) by our environment and not aware of it. If everyone is running in one direction we start running after them, without pausing to ask why. If people around us are obese we are much more likely to be obese, for example, or if everyone is busy chasing money, we are likely to do the same. Our conditioning influences come from our parents, our friends, and the media we consume.

Inside all of us is an inner emptiness that we may not be aware of. It makes us feel uncomfortable and pushes us to escape from it. It is why we are restless, always chasing something and never satisfied. When we are chasing something we feel a dopamine rush that disappears when we get what we want. We then feel empty again and need to chase something else. This is why our minds are wired to assume that the more we accumulate on the outside, the better we will feel on the inside. This conditioning is powerful and we react when anyone suggests it may not be true.

I once met a lady who had 176 pairs of shoes, and was about to go shopping for the next pair. She did not understand the emptiness within her that was pushing her to do this, nor the futility of it. When challenged she could of course justify her actions. Our minds are very capable of justifying everything we do. There is nothing wrong with buying shoes, except the happiness we seek does not last long.

To experience true happiness which is a mix of contentment and joy, we also need to begin an inner journey to find out what real happiness is, and find that peace for ourselves. How do we begin?

The first step is to realise that the happiness we seek in the world outside is already there inside us and to find it we need to go on a journey of learning about ourselves and how our minds work. Be curious. Ask questions of yourself. Why is my mind so restless, always chasing the next thing? Why is the happiness I seek in the world so short-lived? Why I am blind to the extraordinary beauty of the world? Is my pursuit of success actually making me more unhappy?

If you do want to begin your journey to discover this sense of peace and happiness within you, the HappierMe app (formerly HumanWisdom) has all the self-awareness tools to help you do so. The additional benefit of this deeper self-understanding is that it helps you understand others better, which leads to happier relationships. It also makes you emotionally intelligent, a better communicator and more resilient, and this contributes to your success in the world.

If you are happy, content with who you are and what you have, and have a peaceful relationship with yourself and others, you can count yourself as successful already. If not, you can get started on that journey.

In summary, this deeper self-understanding can help you feel happier on the inside, and contribute to your success in the world.

Take the first step, and begin. Your happiness (and success) depends on it.

Understand your mind. Live a happier life.

Life can be tough. The HappierMe app is your personal guide to help you feel better now, but also to take you deeper to understand your thoughts and feelings. It supports you to become the person you want to be, to be happier, manage your emotions and  succeed in the world. There are also coaches you can speak to through the app.

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved