Most people want to be happy and successful.
Ask yourself what that would mean to you. When you think about being quite happy what images come to mind? In addition, what does being very successful look like? Furthermore, what’s the point… where’s the meaning?
HAPPINESS IS CLOSENESS. When you think about experiences in life in which you were really happy, there were probably people important to you in your memory and you were happy in large part because you felt CLOSE to those people. The closer you feel to people you care about, the happier you are. Generally, as humans, we do poorly alone. We must have closeness, connection, intimacy and togetherness. The biggest problem that most of us experience is anxiety and depression… and the biggest contributor to that is loneliness, THE ABSENCE OF CLOSENESS. So, one key objective in life is to routinely establish, build, and maintain some quality and nourishing CLOSENESS in your relationships. Remember, a significant part of your identity is called “I AM WHO I AM WITH” and your happiness dimension is fed by that identity.
Closeness is usually found and developed in your personal life.
SUCCESS IS ACHIEVEMENT. When you think of times in your life when you felt quite successful, you probably thought of things that you achieved. Perhaps you completed college, wrote a book, created a new personal best in sports, learned a new language, became an entrepreneur, improved your community, resolved a huge conflict, wrote a hit song, received an award for what you did, etc. Creating a goal and achieving it builds a solid sense of identity, strength, and autonomy. Continually achieving goals builds confidence and purpose which develops the self and creates independence. So, another key objective in life is to continually realize success by realizing ACHIEVEMENTS.
This part of your identity is called “I AM WHAT I DO” and notice what happens to your identity when you quit doing it. Too often, rather than becoming happy when they retire, many people become depressed because they give up being important, and relevant… which is why it is so important to figure out your next chapter and go DO IT after you give up what you are currently doing.
Success is usually found and developed in your work life.
CREATING BALANCE. Some form of balance between both dimensions of personal and professional life is essential for optimum happiness and success.
People who are highly professionally successful (always achieving) but always personally unhappy (estranged, isolated, unconnected from people) are unbalanced on the success side. They often end up driven and angry. They must start creating valuable CLOSENESS to fix it. Remember, “I AM WHO I’M WITH.”
Likewise, people who are personally very happy (close with significant people) yet very professionally unsuccessful (unable / unwilling to achieve anything) are unbalanced on the happiness side. They usually end up dependent, clingy, and anxious because they are often consumed by fear. “I just couldn’t do that because I am uneducated, shy, unattractive, unskilled, uncoordinated, stupid, weak, awkward, unlucky, difficult” etc.
You may remember someone saying to you, “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all.” And you may have thought, “Then forget it, what’s the point of even trying?”
So now consider this instead: DOING IT RIGHT IS SECONDARY… DOING IT IS PRIMARY! You must beginto ACHIEVE things to fix it. Remember, “I AM WHAT I DO.”
DEVELOP MEANING. Fulfillment in life comes when there is clear and evident meaning to your existence. Write down your basic governing values. Contribute something to society as part of paying the rent for your time here. Commit to something larger than yourself and watch the development of grace.
Life is really about touching lives and getting your life touched as a result.
Develop closeness – I AM WHO I’M WITH, commit to achieving – I AM WHAT I DO, and life becomes balanced.
Then contribute to society in some way with your time, resources, and grace. Meaning emerges and so does fulfillment.