A Brief Meditation On Success And Happiness


By Abdulafeez Olaitan

To say that success is mutually exclusive of happiness is to claim that the occurrence of success signifies the nonoccurrence of happiness or that the occurrence of happiness signifies the nonoccurrence of success.

Both claims read like paradoxes, but in fact, they are not.

Being successful and being happy appear to be like two parallel lines heading for the same direction, alas, they never get to meet. When the idea of success and happiness is referenced, some inquests erupt in the mind:

  • Can we truly make a decision to be happy?
  • Can happiness be attained without achieving success?
  • Can success be attained without achieving happiness?
  • Which one among ‘happiness’ and ‘fulfillment’ passes as the endproduct of success?”

David Leonhardt was quoted to have said: “You don’t find happiness, you make happiness. You choose happiness.” The real question then is, how do you aim to create happiness when life appears to have plunged you into what seems like the deepest abyss to you?

These are rather puzzling inquisitions. However, finding a borderline is the ultimate goal. In its simplest form, success comes from achievement and accomplishment. Happiness, on the other hand, is attained from appreciating and feeling grateful for what you attain and where you are regardless of how elevated the position is, or otherwise.

According to Dale Carnegie:

Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.

This quote confirms and is suggestive of the fact that we might attain success and not achieve happiness.

Furthermore, it emphasizes and brings to light two scenarios:

For success, the act of ‘wanting’ comes first. And when you get what you want, you can say that you are truly successful.

For happiness, the act of ‘getting’ comes first. And when you want what you get, you can say that you are truly happy.

We often attach happiness and success to people, things and situations. Of truth, and as can be examined from Carnegie’s quote, happiness and success come from within. A consequence of success and happiness is dependent on the attitude with which both are approached. You can be successful without really being happy. Sometimes, this is a major obstacle for people, maybe because they are totally oblivious of what they actually want, or due to a feeling of dejection.

A very helpful thing to do is to take the time to figure out what matters most and appreciate the things in your possession. We usually feel that getting what we want automatically brings happiness but sadly, this situation is not always the case. Prioritize and act. Think critically about your principles and priorities. Consider whether you’re living a life in support of those principles and priorities, or not. Different things count as success and happiness for different people. Be genuine about yours and actualise your fantasy.

In summary, to achieve success and happiness, sensitise yourself to be successful and happy. Be intentional about what you want from life and act in accordance with the principles and priorities you have set for yourself. See you at the top of your game. Godspeed.

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