Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Classic Corner: Success and Happiness

By Veronica Fitzpatrick

Over the last year, I have found myself contemplating what success and happiness actually are.  How do you measure success?  How do you measure happiness?  Are they just ideas that we make up in our minds based on what other people think?  How do we know when they are achieved?  I realized that all the answers are within you and things don’t have to always be so complicated.

One of the definitions for success states that it is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.  In order to achieve success, you need to have a purpose.  Does that mean once you achieve success, you need to find a new purpose in life?  The definition sounds so terminal, like it’s the end of something.  I want to keep moving and progressing.  Achieving success shouldn’t mean it’s the end and you don’t want to strive for something else.  In this human experience, we evolve and redefine ourselves over time.  Figuring out what your purpose is in life is a struggle for many of us.  Sometimes it’s like some of us are aimlessly wandering through life without direction.  We have talents and interests, but how do we decide what our true purpose is?  We study for years, earn degrees, and fight our way up the corporate ladder, only to find that we don’t even want what we are chasing.  Who decides if we are successful?  It’s all about perception.  You have to believe that you already have everything you need before you can believe you are successful.

True happiness – the state of being happy.  There have been times over the last few years where I questioned happiness and what it meant to me.  Maybe I was dealing with bouts of postpartum depression or maybe having children changed the way I thought about life.  Either way, the question remained.  Looking for corporate success does not equate to happiness for me.  I am happiest when I am spending time with my family and my friends.  I am happiest when I am spending time with just me!  I am happiest when I focus on spirituality (not religion) and my connection to every living thing in the universe.  There are so many distractions:  politics, reality TV, materialism, what you think everybody else is doing, etc.  Unplug and go off the grid for a while!  Remember ,(or figure out), who you really are before you let anyone else decide what happiness is to you. 

We all have a purpose.  We just need to shut up and listen sometimes.  Like I said before, things don’t have to be so complicated.  We can choose to be happy.  We can choose to be successful. We can choose to continue to learn and progress.  We can choose to just... be.

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