Success and Happiness: It’s Your Heart vs. What the Others Think

By David

February 7, 2014   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

How do you know you are successful in life?

You can either judge your achievements by other people’s standards or by your own definition of success.

So the first step to success is knowing what success means to you. Otherwise, you won’t even know it when you get there, right?

Say your environment seems to expect you to earn lots of money in a corporate job, or stay at home with the kids, or be thin. You have tried and failed to live up to these expectations, and now you feel like a loser and beat yourself up for not being the way they want you to be.

Or you have tried and succeeded, now being the perfect corporate employee, the perfect mom, the perfect girl, but you still feel somehow discontent. Your supposed success makes you feel icky, and you sense that there is more to your life than running after these goals that someone outside of you defined as worthy of achieving.

In both cases, you are experiencing the same thing: You feel unsuccessful and discontent, because you have not yet given your own definition of success a fair chance.

What if you went after what you most value deep inside?

Maybe you’d really like to live in a house in the countryside, closer to nature.
You are longing to meet that person who you feel an instant soul connection to and live together happily ever after.
Or you want to own and drive a fast, sexy, super-expensive car. (Your definition of success can just as well overlap with what your society considers success. The important thing is that YOU feel drawn to it.)

Wouldn’t it be much easier to go after goals you are on fire for? What’s even better, wouldn’t pursuing these goals feel good in itself, even if you hadn’t achieved them yet?

Society’s definition of success vs. your own

The difference between going after the socially imposed definition of success (assuming that you don’t agree it them deep inside) and your own is this:

For the first kind of success, you have to do things you hate (suck up to the boss) in order to get something you will supposedly be happy with (getting that promotion). That promotion may excite you for a while, but if it’s not in alignment with what you really value on the inside, it won’t make you feel any less miserable than before.

For the other kind of success, the one you can go after with all your heart, you have to do things that feel good to you in themselves!

Say you really want to make your love of gardening into a career. While there definitely will be doubt and fear about how the hell you are going to make it, every time you actually take action, it will be something that has to do with gardening (which you love) or something that you’d normally not enjoy (like dealing with the bureaucracy of setting up your business) but that you’ll find meaningful because it takes you closer to living the life you love.

Success is possible right here, right now

So everyday you get to do a little bit of that which makes you feel good, which is a form of success in itself. You don’t have to wait to be happy until you achieve your goal. You can be happy in the now. Every day, you experience yourself as successful, and chances are, your actions will lead you somewhere good.

Now isn’t that the most gratifying and immediate route to success?

And isn’t your happiness and passion about life worth much more than gaining admiration for achieving something you never really wanted?

Written on 2/7/2014 by Julia Felberbauer. Julia Felberbauer helps people all over the world release their inner blocks with long-distance energy work. She is a certified practitioner of The Emotion Code, the energy work technique she uses to help her clients and herself. Based in Austria, she writes for an international audience and loves blogging honestly (often to the point of embarrassment) about the personal and the global. Find her at

Photo Credit: Alter1fo


Getting Started with Business

Learn About Business

More on Business

Business Individual Reviews