Success, Happiness and a More Meaningfull Life

  • We all want to live happy, successful lives, but success doesn't always bring happiness and happy lives are not always what society deems successful.
  • Therefore we must clarify our thinking about the various components of success and happiness and then make those individual decisions which we feel will provide us with the life that we want for ourselves.
  • Life is a marvelous, continuing journey.

Achieving Personal Success

What is an important key to achieving personal success? Before this question can be answered, we must define what we mean by personal success. Many of us equate personal success with power and financial success, and indeed we must have enough self-esteem and enough financial security in our lives to feel confident that we are meeting our necessary responsibilities, but in my definition of personal success we must view our lives in all of its varied aspects. That means attention must be paid not only to our work and our careers, but also to our personal needs–health, recreation, personal relationships and growth. In today’s fast paced environment, this takes a special commitment to dedicate ourselves to planning and balance.

Happiness is used in the context of mental or emotional states, including positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. It is also used in the context of life satisfaction, subjective well-being, eudaimonia, flourishing and well-being.

Barriers to Success

There are often common barriers that block us from achieving success.

Before we can examine  these barriers, we must define which type of success we are seeking, because the two separate definitions of success demand different strategies and follow different paths. Financial and career success demand that we learn to work hard, pick ourselves up from our failures and continue to constantly do what is necessary to move forward toward our goals, making success the first priority in our lives and not allowing failure to deter us. If we make this choice then we can be confident that we will eventually succeed.

Success in one’s personal life has a different path. Our own private needs and our personal relationships must then become part of our decision making process. These more personal decisions may take time and energy away from our drive toward our financial and career success. Each person must make his own decision as how to continue to move forward, but each decision that is made has its consequences. If we choose career success at any cost then the personal side of our lives may suffer. If we choose our personal success path, then we may make less money and feel perhaps a lesser sense of achievement in our careers. Therefore the barrier to achieving success is really our own conflict about these choices, and the difficulty in deciding what our choices should be. Once we make our decisions, we can then move quickly toward our selected goals.

Goal Setting

Studies by Edwin A. Locke and his colleagues have shown that more specific and ambitious goals lead to more performance improvement than easy or general goals. The goals should be specific, difficult, and have time constraints. As long as the person accepts the goal, has the ability to attain it, and does not have conflicting goals, there is a positive linear relationship between goal difficulty and task performance.

Goal setting is an important part of achievement. There are two ways that we set our goals. One is outer driven and one is inner driven. The outer driven goals are the goals that others set for us. They may be set by our friends, our neighbors, the society in which we live or the prevailing values of our time. The second way we discover our goals is inner driven. It is an internal system which show us what we would like to personally achieve. It is this inner voice that whispers to us who we are and how we can achieve our unique potential. Before we can achieve our goals we must know ourselves well enough to know what goals we want to achieve, and be sure they are our own goals and not the goals that others have set for us. When we know what we really want to accomplish, it is then easier to take those steps which help us to achieve those goals.

How Can we Live an Extraordinary Life?

The extraordinary life is not so much about what a person achieves or what others think of him, but rather how he views his own life and his own achievements in terms of his loving relationships and his competence in adjusting to the difficult demands of living with strength and with dignity, so that he can say when he looks back over the passing years “I have been grateful for the gift of life. I have tried to continue to learn and grow. I have tried to have the courage to follow my internal honesty.”This more examined life is an extraordinary life because it leads to more balance, more contentment and to the fulfillment of each individual’s personal vision.

Leading Happier more Fulfilled Lives

Life is a marvelous, continuing journey. Every day is a challenging adventure with opportunities for new insights, growth and change. With thoughtful planning and good decision making skills we are more able to have some control over our days and to achieve that ultimate goal of leading happier, more fulfilled lives.

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June Stepansky

June Stepansky is a published writer and poet who writes books and articles about happiness, self-improvement and social and political issues


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