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Success vs. Happiness


Mar. 23, 2015 Entrepreneur

Take a minute to think about how “successful” you are.

Now think about what criteria you used to evaluate yourself. Some people might look to their bank account. Others to various degrees they’ve collected. Many would look to their relationships with a spouse, their children, their friends. Some might even open their closet and look to their collection of designer shoes, bags and watches.

Do I consider myself “successful?” I do. I’ve created a pretty awesome business; I’m well respected in my field; and I have multiple degrees. I love my home, and my relationships are strong.

But on the other hand, I don’t own my home. I sold my condo when I divorced. I’m also overweight, which doesn’t exactly paint a picture of success — especially for a woman. Oh, and I quit my PhD 93 pages into my dissertation.

To some people, I might not look like a smashing success.

My friend and colleague Ryan Coelho says the word “success” is like the word “God.” If you ask 100 people what it means, every one of them will have a different answer. He’s right.

On one level, we understand that real success is about happiness. We know this. We’re not shallow and superficial. And yet…

And yet most of us (ahem, even those of us who help people get happy for a living) easily confuse success for happiness — at least until we wise up.

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