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The Difference Between Being Successful and Being Happy

The Difference Between Being Successful and Being Happy

Understanding the difference between being successful and being happy is vital. Success is great, but not if it costs your happiness. If you are meeting the challenges of your life with a light, free heart, then you’re doing it right. Keep going! But if you find yourself dragging along with your heart behind you every step of the way, it is time to stop and rethink. Here are some vital differences that will change the way you see success and happiness.

1. Success is meeting deadlines. Happiness is working toward your goals.

Meeting deadlines is a good thing, but if you are regularly unhappy while you’re doing it, it’s time to figure out why and fix it. Could it be that you are meeting other people’s deadlines, i.e. taking on work that is not yours? Are you working in a field that is in line with your gifts and natural strengths? If not, you may feel like you are swimming upstream. Living from deadline to deadline can be a hamster wheel that will exhaust you.

Goals are stepping stones that take you to your dreams. They aim your life in the right direction–closer to what makes you come alive inside. When you live towards your purpose, you will find an energy bubbling through that will carry you. Goals will have also have deadlines, and meeting those deadlines will bring success–the happy kind.

“Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.” -Dennis Waitley

2. Success is working your way to the top of your field. Happiness is flowing in your purpose and gifts.

You may be climbing the corporate ladder, aiming to be top of your class, or be the fastest in your running club. If success for you is a single achievement, a destination you are aiming at, you may find yourself living in transit; stuck on a gray train between “here” and “there.” You could feel as if life is passing you by, a messy blur past your window. The aim of getting to the top is not just reaching it, but rather the growth you experience as you go.

When you figure out what you’ve been created for, and start doing it, you will find a satisfaction and contentment that you never imagined possible. Opportunities that you’d dreamed of will find you, instead of you sweating to make them happen. Start doing what you were created for and watch the doors fly open.

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“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” -Andy Rooney

3. Success is focusing on accumulating wealth. Happiness is focusing on improving your life.

Money is useful, and having enough of it sure makes life a bit easier, but it never brings a guarantee of happiness. Some of the most miserable people on our planet are those who have the most money.

There is wealth that far outweighs a fat bank balance. Investing in relationships brings a return of love and shared experiences that money can never buy. In the same way, spending time perfecting your abilities will bring an increase in your natural talent. Ask any pianist what an hour a day at the piano can bring. Invest your time into more than just making money.

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt

4. Success is promotion above your peers. Happiness is being respected by your peers.

Being promoted is a good thing to work towards. But clawing your way ahead, no matter who you have to step on to get there, will not bring you lasting satisfaction or peace.

Being kind and valuing the people in your circles costs you nothing and will earn their respect. It doesn’t matter if they are above or below you in rank; treating everyone as unique individuals worth your time and love will carve you into their hearts.

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“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

5. Success is lying awake at night, worrying. Happiness is sleeping at peace.

If you climb a ladder built only by your own hands, you’ll spend a lot of time hoping it is strong enough to hold you up. But when you build with others, and start to climb higher, they will gather around ready to catch you should you fall. This will bring a security that means you can sleep easy at night.

There is a deep peace that comes with being where you’re meant to be, doing what you’re meant to be doing. Happy people are able to put their heads on the pillow at night and don’t carry the weight of tomorrow by themselves.

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” -Winston Churchill

6. Success is staying ahead of the pack at any cost. Happiness is thriving in everything you do.

Successful people tend to work themselves beyond what their bodies can cope with. The put their health on the line, feeling they can’t spare time towards eating right, getting enough exercise, drinking water and getting sufficient sleep. The only thing that matters to them is staying ahead.

Happy people thrive. They enjoy their lives and will grab opportunities with both hands. They understand the value of looking after themselves and, because of this balance, are able to achieve more.

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“If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy.” -Proverb

7. Success is finding a life partner. Happiness is keeping your partner for life.

It is a remarkable thing to find the one who gets you. That soul who shares your hopes and dreams, can make you feel better when you are sad or disappointed; the one who loves you just as you are. With so much in common, it is easy to think that a long term relationship should be effortless, yet the truth is, in fact, the opposite.

The first step is deciding that your partner is a keeper, and then spend the rest of your days building on that foundation. Be generous and hold nothing back of your love, patience, generosity and kindness. Remember everything that you pour into your significant other, will come back at you through them.

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” -Robert A. Heinlein

8. Success is keeping the knowledge you glean to yourself. Happiness is sharing your expertise freely.

You’ve worked hard to get where you are. You’ve put in the time, paid money to do the courses and it shows in your achievements. Many people at this stage will hang onto their know-how out of fear that others will surpass their accomplishments. Insecurity will hold you back from the joy of seeing your abilities multiplied in those who learn from you.

There is something beautiful in having your student outdo you. Being brilliant at what you do is one thing, but to be willing to pass everything you know on and to see your students soar higher than you? That is when you know you have mastered your craft. It takes confidence not to be intimidated by the success of others. Their success does not take away from your talent; in fact it amplifies it.

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“Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.” -Maxim Gorky

9. Success is striving for more. Happiness is contentment with what you have.

Are you living in a rut of “not enough”? A life spent chasing bigger, better and more will leave you empty and tired. Shift the focus and, instead of being an accumulator, start living as a distributor and watch your happiness sky rocket.

Open your eyes to the blessings surrounding you. Live aware of how much you have. If you can’t see it, take a day off and hang out with someone who has less than you. Choose to be grateful and appreciate every tiny detail of what you have.

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” -Frederick Keonig

10. Success is to live driven. Happiness is to live fueled by passion.

For each mountain you climb, there is another waiting for your feet. There will always be another deadline, another urgent matter that can’t wait. If you live in waiting for the sound of a whip crack from behind you, it is time to re-evaluate. If fear is your greatest motivator, take it as a warning light on your dashboard. You can’t keep running at that pace; something has to change or your health and relationships will suffer.

From the outside, a driven person and a passionate person might look equally busy, but they are running on different fuel. When you work with what you feel most passionate about, you will have energy, a love for life that is infectious and a productivity level that gets stuff done. Your instincts will be sharp and there will be fresh initiative for everything you tackle. It’s worth taking the time to get to know yourself and figure out what you are passionate about. Then do that thing!

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” -Albert Schweitzer

Featured photo credit: 066 006.jpg/butkovicdub via mrg.bz

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

Reference

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