Success vs Happiness

In today’s frantic world, happiness is something that everyone craves. You only have to look at the books currently available on achieving and maintaining happiness to agree that there are many writers out there making money (and maybe achieving the success they crave) by helping others in the pursuit of happiness.

So what is happiness? The definition of happiness is basically the quality or state of being happy – i.e. bliss, contentment, pleasure or satisfaction. Put in simple terms, happiness results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good. Why is it that some people are just naturally happy with their jobs and their lives while others aren’t? Happiness is more a state of mind with studies consistently indicating that happiness doesn’t have much to do with materialistic achievements or what we might consider traditional ‘success’. That means the more money we earn and the higher status we achieve won’t necessarily make us happy – not rocket science. But what will make us happier in our careers?

Studies also reveal that happiness has a lot more to do with your outlook on life and the quality of your day to day relationships. While nobody (at least nobody I know) is 100% happy all of the time, some people are consistently more content or fulfilled than others – happy with what they have and happy to pursue what they want. This means that if you are feeling like you’re in a dead end career and you don’t get on with your colleagues, your happiness will most likely be affected in a negative way.

To increase your levels of happiness, you don’t need more ‘success’, you need to be more positive. My husband uses the ‘glass half full’ analogy all the time and I love it – is your glass ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’? If you constantly approach things with a ‘glass half empty’ attitude, try to turn this around and look at things in a more positive light because happiness really is about being more content and appreciating things for what they are.

Achieving happiness at work doesn’t mean quitting your job and pursuing an entirely new career. You need to be realistic about your future and start planning to work towards achieving more success and/or happiness. I wrote an article earlier this year on How to be Happy at Work. In it, I mentioned the importance of taking responsibility for your own destiny. You are the one that can make a difference and only you can control how you feel about your work. If you’re feeling unhappy at work, there are many things you can do to feel more positive – in that article, I provided 8 tips to get you started.

We also know that the happiest employees are those that feel their contribution is making a difference, however sometimes your contribution goes unnoticed and feelings of resentment and lack of fulfilment come into play. If you’re in this situation, you need to ask for feedback. Some companies are great at recognising ‘success’ and others not so much. Chances are you know you’re achieving success, but you just want acknowledgement – ask for it and if you’re not getting what you need from your employer, now might be the perfect time to start planning for change.

The important thing to remember is that success does not always drive happiness. Happiness is, in a lot of ways, more about your state of mind. If you’re not happy in your job, you need to work out the reasons why and then make plans to change that. Don’t be afraid of change and don’t ever feel like you’re destined for a lifetime in a career that makes you miserable.

Would you like assistance from a Career Coach to find your ideal career so you can enjoy every day rather than spending all week counting down the days until the weekend? Life is too short to stay in a job you hate! For more information, please see our Career Guidance and Career Coaching services.

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