As a society, we thrive on success.

When we see the people we love or leaders we admire become successful, we get a sense of joy. To be successful means that you’re living your best life. It’s what we dream about and what we spend a lifetime trying to achieve. Success is seen as a pillar of greatness so why wouldn’t anyone want that?

However, success has also become something that can bring other emotions besides greatness.

It can bring joy and pain.

When we see someone succeed it can go one in two ways. We can appreciate the amazing work they’re doing or we can feel like crap because we see their achievements as our own failure.

There have been moments where everyone around us seems to have life figured out that it makes us question our own value. So we start goal setting and strive to reach that level of success. Our minds tells us that once we succeed in our goals only then will we feel happy. We’ll feel happy once we loose the weight, have the house, the family, the career, the money, the fame…the list can go on.

This momentum is common in all of us and has helped as inspiration to create a better life. However, it also begs the question:

Could success actually be harmful?

The idea that success equals happiness has been around for ages. But what does success actually mean to our happiness?

According to Merriam-Websters Dictionary, the definition of success is “the attainment of wealth, favor, or fame.” Today, success is mostly measured in external and monetary value. It’s something that you get to display, like the followers, the money, the friends, the projects, etc. These are things that we as a society have defined successful people. Therefore we think once we have this level of success our happiness will automatically align.

Yet how many times have we seen celebrities who have all the success in the world end up taking their own lives? Which means that success isn’t what we’re really looking for.

What we’re really looking for is happiness.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, an America professor and author, has been studying happiness for nearly two decades. In her bestselling book The How of Happiness, she states that success only plays a small part in our happiness. During her research, Lyubomirsky’s discovered that “happiness is not out there for us to find” regardless of what we’ve been told. And how success doesn’t guarantee happiness. I’ll re-type that:

Success Doesn’t Guarantee Happiness.

Now does that mean we have to stop creating goals and achieving things? Not at all. Success and happiness can go hand in hand. But it’s the way we VIEW the two that needs to be altered.

In a recent article, psychologists have concluded that for many of us, happiness is something we aspire to. Happiness is somewhere we get to someday. But what we fail to recognize is that “happiness is a state of mind, not a destination.” So how do we begin to make this shift between success and happiness?

Define your OWN version of success.

What does success mean to you? How do YOU define success in your OWN life and not according to what society says?

If finally reaching a level where you’re financially stable, that could be a success. If you have a great supportive system of friends or colleagues that have your back, that’s success. Really sit down and evaluate what success means to you and your life.

Could things be better? Of course they can. We can always continue to become better people. As long as we remember that success doesn’t define who we are as humans and it doesn’t control our happiness. We are the masters of our own happiness and we can start whenever we want.

How do you define success in your life? Leave a comment below and start the conversation. Also if you like this post, make sure you share it with friends and family.

Til next time homies,

kim delarosa

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash