Having taken both the dictionary definitions for success and happiness I am using the term “successfully happy” to refer to “the accomplishment of a state of well being and contentment”.
It often appears, however, in current culture, that success and happiness have become related to wealth or the spending of money. It seems we always want more. I’d like to think there’s a bit more to it all than this.
For many years I chased a career – higher earnings, increased status and responsibility. I used my income to invest in a better home, upgrade essentials of food and clothing and spend on leisure. In essence I did as most of us do – given the opportunity - adjusting both spend and of course my ever changing definitions of want and need. It wasn’t particularly lavish but I was comfortable. The price I paid was increased work hours and associated stress. I have no regrets. I enjoyed my work (in the most part) but the chance to take a break and reflect leads to interesting deliberations.
I’m currently reading a book which looks at the relationship between wealth and happiness – it’s looking to determine what is “enough” in considering the work of a previous economist who predicted that by 2030 we would all work vastly reduced hours thereby increasing our leisure time and well being. While I’m only part way through two key points raised in trying to understand why this prediction failed to materialise are the satisfaction we now seem to derive from the workplace and the ever increasing and insatiable appetite for consumption.
As I travel my belongings have been greatly reduced and I certainly dream of returning to a lifestyle whereby I will not become entrenched on the treadmill that is life for so many. My head is churning the want and need debate much more. My mind feels sparky, full of ideas and opportunities. My heart feels open as I start to look at making these dreams my next reality. My challenge it still seems will be a break from all past behaviours as I plan what I may need to make this work. My return from earning is beyond monetary yet I am unsure quite how this will transpire. I’m aware my current position to travel has of course required cash.
It’s hard to break away from the norm. As individuals we just need to work out what makes us successfully happy. It’s when we just follow what we think people expect of us that we will feel discontent. The trick is honesty, with yourself and others regarding your definition.
Good luck and be happy.