Have you ever walked your lawn or wandered into the bush one early morning, when the air is still crispy cool and everything is quiet except the rustle of the leaves and the lilting songs of the birds?
If you had, chances are that you would have seen those droplets of water on the blades of the grass beneath your feet or clinging on spider webs, sparkling like diamonds, as they diffuse the creeping rays of the sun.
And you would have noticed how easy they vanish, leaving without a trace, at the touch of sunlight.
Before you can appreciate the beauty of their simplicity and purity, they are gone.
Very much like success and happiness.
But while a morning dew is easier to explain and understand, success and happiness are more unfathomable, imperceptible, and more difficult to feel, hold, smell and taste because they can only exist within the context of your values, of the things you consider important in life.
Except for a few gifted with appreciating the little things in life that come their way, success and happiness are simply confounding to most. They are as fleeting, even elusive to most.
And here is the first of four reasons why:
1. We take success and happiness like Siamese twins:
How often have you heard of a friend saying, “I would be happy if I get that promotion,” or “I would be the happiest man on Earth if I marry my boss’s daughter?”
We take happiness and success as a pre-condition for the other; that one cannot be happy without being successful and vice-versa.
I am always amused to see some members of my tennis club changing racquets because “it can improve their volleys or ground strokes.” Until they find it doesn’t work as expected and buy another.
History is replete with people who have reached their pinnacle of success, yet are spending lonely and miserable lives. Sometimes we can just scratch our heads in bafflement to hear of a very “successful” guy having drug or marital problems, or even committing suicide.
Studies have shown that they don’t necessarily go together, and wishing for them to come in one package is as impossible as making a snowman in the middle of the Sahara.
That brings me to the second point,
2. Decide which is more important, Success or Happiness:
Nobody wants to be taken to as old if they are “old,” as I am (67 this May). They find it condescending, if not patronizing. I sometimes find it complimentary.
It means that I have seen and experienced much of the world; that I have taken, and survived, the harshest the world has thrown at me and still say, “Is that all you’ve got?”
It means that I know how difficult it is to make the choice of what is more important: Success or Happiness?
I have seen people driven to success at all cost, yet in the end lost everything: family, friends, career and everything that constitutes a happy life.
On the reverse, I have also seen people who are so engrossed with being “happy,” that they practically denied themselves of things that could make a marginally comfortable and decent life. All they care about is their happiness even if the world around them is falling to pieces
The bottomline? There is no clear cut answer because each has to be tempered to serve the other.
This brings me to the third point:
3. You must be willing to Pay the Price:
We all want to succeed in life, but most of us want it to be served in a silver platter, complete with the trimmings that come with fine dining.
Is “Happiness” free? No way, my friend.
Finding happiness means letting go of the things that make you unhappy and miserable – and that is a tall order if these have been ingrained in you through years of associating with people with similar dour outlook in life.
Happiness is not free. It comes with the price of changing a new leaf.
And that brings me to the last point:
4. Nurture what You have:
We are all born unique in that nobody in this whole wide world is exactly like you. Nobody looks exactly like you, even your twin; nobody thinks like you and nobody has the same talents you were gifted with at birth – your signature talents.
If you want to succeed and be happy, look not on the outside for things that can help you achieve both, but inside.
Look deeply inside you to rediscover those things you are good at and happy in doing. Once you had, expand it. Read and learn as much as you can about your inherent gifts; expand your knowledge and hone your skills. Nobody will fault you for knowing too much, but you can be the subject of ridicule for being ignorant.
Emulate people who have achieved both, not copy. Nobody likes a copycat. Besides, you can never be someone else other than yourself, but you can be a better model by doing things your way.
In closing, if you want success and happiness that will last longer than an early morning dew, let them come from within, not an adaptation of someone else’s.
Please share if you like this.