By Emil Nazaryan
We can be successful and happy at the same time; here are three steps to make it happen.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This timeless paragraph from the U.S. Declaration of Independence gave me chills the first time I read it. In this one short paragraph our founding fathers pretty much summarized the meaning of human life! Don’t you agree?
I came across this paragraph again very recently, only this time something I didn’t notice before jumped out at me. In today’s materialistic world, where almost everyone is looking to achieve success, acquire fame, possessions, title and power, the last phrase from the powerful paragraph stood out. “How interesting,” I thought, “that the wise men who wrote the Declaration of Independence didn’t use the phrase “pursuit of success, pursuit of fame or pursuit of power. Instead, they wrote “pursuit of Happiness.” Is there a difference?”
Thankfully, the recent years of my life have opened my eyes on this issue, and I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that success (as generally defined by society) and happiness are two completely different things. I also know that the overwhelming majority of people don’t think this is true. What’s even more curious, they never stop to question this. Most people blindly pursue “success” thinking that success will give them happiness. You may think the same way, and I don’t blame you. So did I for most of my life. However, let’s investigate this question together and see if your conclusion remains the same.
Are Success and Happiness the Same Thing? To answer this question let’s introduce two sub-questions that will help shed light on the main one.
- Can you be happy without being successful?
- Can you be successful without being happy?
I bet, just by reading the two questions above, you are already starting to have second thoughts. But let’s not stop there and dive into the first question. Many studies have been done over the years by various reputable institutions that have found some of the happiest people in some of the poorest countries. Isn’t that interesting? But why go that far? Look into your own life. Don’t you know someone who is not particularly rich and successful but is always happy, friendly and content? Don’t just say no! You have surely met cashiers, waiters and other people who may have brightened your day with their enthusiasm and smile. Heck, if you’ve been to Chick-fil-A or Starbucks then you know what I’m talking about!
Now let’s address the second question. Can you be successful without being happy? Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, Avicii, whom everyone considered highly successful, are amongst more tragic examples of a “yes” response to the question. Again, looking at your surroundings, don’t you know people with a lot of money, titles and fame who are really miserable? They constantly worry about losing their wealth and possessions. They spend most of their time working, often neglecting what’s most important—their families, their relationships and their health. How is this happiness?
So, what is the solution? Should we not strive to become prosperous and wealthy? Should we abandon our desire to succeed? Of course, not! The winning answer is that we can be successful and happy at the same time! To achieve this we have to shift our motive, our center, our why. We have to undergo a paradigm shift. Here are three steps to make it happen:
- YOU ARE HAPPY NOW! Abandon the idea that happiness lies in achievement. That kind of happiness is merely called satisfaction—and it’s short lived. True happiness exists within you, only and always here and now. There’s nothing you need to do, nowhere to go, no experience to have to feel happy. In fact, when you let go of these “preprogrammed happiness notions”, you will feel a radiant, bright light shining from the center of your heart, from the center of your being, putting a giant smile on your face. Its sweetness is unmistakable and unparalleled. It is your direct point of contact with the creator.
- FOCUS ON OTHERS. Now that you know material success is not the source of happiness and that you are already happy, start sharing your happiness with others. Focus on helping others get what they want, help them succeed, be kind to everyone and everything. Shift the motive of your actions from gaining something for yourself to giving something to the world. I know it’s hard to imagine, especially if you don’t think you have much to give. But that’s not true. You have infinite resources. How much does a kind word cost you? How many smiles do you have allocated per day? What’s the limit of the compliments you can give out? If you have nothing else, you have an abundance of goodwill and that’s all you need to start with.
- RECEIVE GRACIOUSLY. In truth, if you follow the first two steps you will be all set for a lifetime of happiness. You will see that there is really nothing you “need” to be happy and happiness will be your natural state. This state comes with a by-product. People are attracted to light because it ignites the light within their own hearts. Because of this, you will start noticing that you will be attracting people, opportunities and abundance. This is what most people would call success. Only this time it won’t be superficial. It will feel almost effortless because it won’t feel like you were striving, struggling or sacrificing to achieve this. Quite the opposite, you were doing what felt good, brought you joy and gave you a sense of fulfillment. Receive the blessings that come your way graciously, with an open and thankful heart. This is the universe’s way of rewarding you.
“When you get to the top of the ladder you may find it is propped against the wrong wall,” said best-selling author Stephen Covey. It is my sincere hope and wish that, no matter where you are in your life, this article helps you jump on the right ladder without wasting any more time going up the wrong one. Let the center of your heart be your guide!
Emil Nazaryan is a motivational writer and a contributor to the monthly Motivational Corner column of HR Realtor Magazine. He has undergone a spiritual transformation which has led the way to sharing the insights he has experienced with the others. He is well acquainted with all major spiritual traditions of the world, but it is the direct experience of the essence of these teachings that is responsible for the altered life outlook and the motivational articles that stem this. In his daily life Emil is a successful REALTOR and he resides in Norfolk, VA, with his wife and two children. Contact him by email at email@example.com.