Let me get straight to the point: Your happiness is connected to your definition of success (Achor, 2011).
Shawn Achor discusses this in his TedX talk about the Happiness Advantage and if you just stop to think about it, I bet you can relate. You are so stressed applying to colleges, jobs, or graduate schools and you continue telling yourself “Once I get in I can finally be happy.” Woohoo, you get in. You are happy for the weekend, but now you change your vision of success because you achieved getting into college, grad school or got the job (Achor, 2011). Now you’re telling yourself, “I’ll be happy once I get through the first semester, the first promotion, etc” (Achor, 2011).
But – when you change the vision of success to getting your first semester done or getting your first promotion – you just pushed your happiness away – that happiness you were “waiting for” earlier (Achor, 2011). If you continue to do this to yourself then your happiness is always out in front of you and constantly moving away from you because it is connected to the success you are trying to achieve (Achor, 2011). However, the minute you achieve that success then there is another weekend of celebration and then again your happiness begins to move away from you.
If you can relate to this then I want you to know that you can create a separate definition of success and happiness. They don’t have to be connected. Success is different from happiness. Happiness can be found in other areas of your life. In fact, it needs to be because you are going to fail and you are going to have challenging times in your life.
If your happiness is constantly being pushed into the future, you are going to spend your entire life chasing happiness and you are not going to catch it. Life is short – stop and enjoy the process and journey. Enjoy the ups and the downs. Enjoy the good times and the bad times. It is what makes you a human being. It is what makes you – you. The good, the bad, the ugly – It is all life.
Achor, Shawn. (2011). The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance. TedX Talks. https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work