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The Happiness Connection  

Success is being happy

I’ve recently discovered an amazing sense of freedom. It’s come with the conscious decision to stop needing to be successful.

This is a radically different approach for me.

I’m very goal driven. I tend to be motivated by the desire to achieve specific outcomes.

Of course, when I don’t accomplish these objectives, I’m faced with the belief that I’ve failed. I might use different words, but that’s really what it boils down to.

Let me give you an example. When I put my first published book on Amazon, I set the goal of having it become a top seller in one category. If I could do that, I could say I was a No. 1 best-selling author.

That didn’t happen. I failed.

That perspective meant I didn’t celebrate the fact that people from all over the world have purchased my book. I appreciate family and friends buying it, but when total strangers do, it’s not just a “pity buy.”

Maybe I didn’t achieve my goal, but isn’t helping even just one person live a happier life, success?

I’ve since discovered that getting to No. 1 in an Amazon category, doesn’t really mean anything. It’s a numbers game that pretty much anyone can win if they have the right strategy or person to guide their campaign.

This understanding helped me realize I needed to change my thinking around success. Even more importantly, I needed to get my heart and soul to buy into something different.

I’ve been opting for goals I thought I could attain, rather than ones I felt a desire to strive for. That’s the strategy of someone whose level of self-belief is low.

I think I’ve been worried about disappointing myself or others. Just when I thought I’d silenced the people pleaser in me, I realize she’s still here and making her presence known.

I’m tired of that approach. I want to dream big without worrying that if I veer off course, or fall short of my desire, that I’ve failed. Maybe what I thought I wanted, wasn’t what I want at all.

I started by trying to redefine success. That didn’t seem to achieve what I wanted, so I’ve chosen instead to take a more radical approach.

I’m no longer writing with the aim of being a best-selling author or working so I can have a million dollars in my bank account. I’m doing it because I have something to say, I love to share knowledge, and it gives me an amazing feeling of fulfillment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to be on the New York best-sellers list, or wealthy enough to have all the experiences I desire, but that isn’t my focus. It’s the decoration on the icing.

I’m allowing myself to devote time and energy to projects that I feel drawn to and that make me happy. I’m setting a goal to complete the things I’ve chosen, but I’m not linking my desires to any specific outcome or measurable success.

I’ve started writing a novel. I’ve got a big dream of it being an authentic best-seller, but if it isn’t, I won’t consider myself a failure. The achievement of completing it is success in its own right.

Perhaps the real problem is that I’ve been focusing on small, inconsequential goals, rather than the biggest one of all. What’s the most important thing for me to achieve in my life?

I encourage you to ask yourself the same question.

My goal in this life is to be happy. If traditional success comes along with that, I’ll take it. If it doesn’t, I still plan to be happy.

In the words of Tony Robbins, “Success without happiness, is failure.”

If this resonates with you, or you’d like to be a little bit happier, here are some of my favorite evidence-based ways to boost your sense of wellbeing.

  • Listen to and follow your intuition/hunches/gut.
  • Smile.
  • Stay connected through friendships, or conversations with strangers.
  • Commit random acts of kindness.
  • Take time to be creative in whatever way you enjoy most.
  • Find things to be grateful for every day.
  • Get outside regularly to enjoy your environment and to move your body.


More The Happiness Connection articles

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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