Learning To Balance Happiness and Success

Success does not breed happinessDo you consider yourself to be a happy person?

Do you consider yourself to be a success as an entrepreneur?

Do you think you will only be happy once you obtain what you consider to be a certain level of success?

Perhaps you’ve heard the old saying, “Success breeds happiness“, which basically means that if you are successful at something, happiness is sure to follow.

It’s the antithesis of another old saying, “Money can’t buy happiness“.

I love old sayings and use them often (it’s easier than thinking up new sayings on my own), but I know that for every old saying, there’s another old saying that cancels it out.

So let’s talk about real world experience.

It’s been my personal experience that success does not automatically breed happiness, nor can money buy true, sustaining happiness.

Sure, you might be happy initially when you land that big client or sell your business for a bunch of cash, but how long can that happiness last if there aren’t other factors at play?

Looking back over my life, the time when I considered myself to be the most successful from a business standpoint was also the time I remember as being my most miserable.

I had lots of money, which bought lots of cool stuff, but I had very little time to enjoy the fruits of my labors or to spend with my family.

I dreaded going to the office.

I grew to hate my employees, my customers, and my investors.

And the daily grind of the business became a chore rather than a joy.

And I became, pardon my French, a miserable SOB.

Success – or my idea of success at the time – did not bring happiness; it brought anger, angst, and misery.

The day that I decided to sell the business and move on was the day a great weight was lifted from my shoulders.

I had sacrificed my happiness – and the happiness of everyone around me – to achieve my personal vision of success.

Again: money can’t buy happiness.  Lots of cool stuff, yes.  Lasting happiness, no.

The popular Salsa singer, Marc Anthony, has sold over 12 million albums and earned tens of millions of dollars.

He recently told an interviewer that he would trade it all to go back in time and just be a stay at home dad to his two kids.

Success does not breed happiness. Quite often, success comes at the cost of happiness.

So think about your situation.

  • What is your personal vision of success?
  • What must you achieve before you consider yourself successful?
  • What must you sacrifice?
  • How many hours must you work?
  • How much of yourself must you invest?

Now consider your personal vision of happiness?

What will it take to make you truly happy?

If you’re like most people, the answer is love, relationship, family, and enough money to live a comfortable life.

If you list money, power and fame as those things that will make you the happiest, remember another old saying you might want to keep in mnd

It can be very lonely at the top.

Do some people achieve the balance between success and happiness?

Of course. Many do, on many levels, but it’s my opinion that happiness breeds success, not the other way around.

I talked about this on a recent videocast. Enjoy!


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