Chicken and egg: happiness and success

Happiness or success – which comes first?

There’s a strong relationship between happiness and success, which one comes first?

Most people will discuss how success affects happiness, rarely the other way around. Their formula is clear: work harder, be successful and then you’ll be happier.

Ask friends and colleagues about success and the answer is often ‘I’m working hard now so I can be happy when …’

But wasn’t getting the dream job, buying the perfect house, the sports car, meeting the ideal partner or achieving the goal supposed to make you happy? How many of them thought they’d be happy once they achieved these things?  Why didn’t the ‘success leads to happiness’ formula work?

It’s hard to find happiness as a result of success if the goal posts of success keep changing.

For example, you want a specific type of car and know you will be happy beyond measure when you finally get it. And you’re happy and enjoy everything about it … for a while. How long does it take for you to think ‘OK this is great, but what I really want next is …’

Success and achievement are sequential and  incremental. One achievement leads to the next, usually in the form of a new, more challenging goal and a plan to get there. So we need to learn to be grateful for what we’ve achieved, stop and enjoy the plateau before scaling the next face and be happy in the journey as well as the destination.

If you reverse the order of the formula, you end up with greater happiness and greater success.


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