How do you define it? When do you know you’ve achieved it? What are you measuring it against? Yourself and your personal goals? Or are you measuring it against someone else’s goals or achievements? What are you striving for?
I’m successful in happiness. Even on the dark days. I’m hopeful for the light. At the end of our days, happiness is all that matters. Finances. Homes. Cars. All material. All of them trivial when you look at the big picture. Happiness matters. Kindness matters.
That doesn’t mean I do not strive for financial stability. Doesn’t mean I stop growing my career. Or planning for a future I hope to enjoy.
Someone once told me the easiest way to choose between two options is to ask yourself – If I die tomorrow which one will have been more important and made you happier? The question applies to all scenarios with the exception of choosing between laziness and work. Always choose work even through the laziness will always make you happy.
When I was asked the question I was choosing between continuing a well-developed career with a promising development path and starting over with an unknown future path. I was trading off security for the hope of happiness. And at the end of the day, we regret the chances we never took. And this was a chance to take the pressure off.
I’ve always been ambitious. That has never changed and I imagine it won’t. I sometimes find myself stuck because of my ambition. Pushing myself to the limits. Striving courageously towards an unknown goal. Seeking financial success at the hefty cost of compromising my happiness.
I made the choice. I left my previous role almost 11 months ago and my how things have changed. I can reflect on how I felt 11 months ago and see an immense shift in how I approach each day. It is a combination of many things but the catalyst is where I spend most of my time and that is at work. Although that is where I am the majority of my time, it is no longer my identity. It is a small portion of it.
The environment is such that I can leave it behind at the end of the day. And spend the rest of time thinking about other things, spending time with my family and being mindfully present. I don’t worry too much about the followings days’ docket. I can focus my time on making other choices.
No matter the size of the choice. Ask yourself the question. Which will have brought more happiness, which will have been more important?
Choosing between coloring with the kids and cleaning the bathroom. Choose coloring. You won’t care about how clean the bathroom was.
Be sure you know what you’re measuring your success against. Be sure you are measuring it against your goals and not (what you believe to be) the success of others. They, more than likely, have compromised happiness more often than not.
Always choose happiness.