Sir Richard Branson

The Real Difference Between Being Successful And Being Happy

Sir Richard Branson
Lauren Martin

“Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get.”- Ingrid Bergman

Success and happiness, happiness and success. People have a tendency to confuse the two, mixing them up until they can’t distinguish between the very different but seemingly unified terms.

In a culture based on profit and earnings, we’ve grown up to attribute happiness as the product of success, measuring our lives by the level of our achievements and goals attained. Like a bad analogy, many equate success to the forefront of happiness, foregoing the second part of the equation to achieve the first. They think happiness is at the end of the climb and success is just a measure of it.

However, if you look at it more closely, there couldn’t be a more wrong way of looking at it. Success is not, and never has been, a reflection of happiness, but rather, the other way around. How happy you are is the ultimate measure of success, isn’t it?

It only takes a few case studies to realize that success can’t be the recipe for happiness. If success did lead to happiness, shouldn’t the very rich and accomplished be the happiest people we know? Shouldn’t the ones who choose fame, fortune and achievement be at the pinnacle of satisfaction? Shouldn’t Alec Baldwin just be a happy go-lucky guy?

Unfortunately, the most successful and rich aren’t always the happiest, as they gave up real chances for happiness on their way to the top. They got the equation all wrong, mixing up the two variables for an answer that’s pretty far from what they thought they’d get. They believed that success was the answer to happiness and happiness was just a byproduct, a factor, to success.

Like a math problem, or a well-applied analogy, success and happiness are separate, but many times dependent factors. Success most definitely has a stake in happiness, but not in the way many people think. Success is an achievement, but happiness is the only achievement. Success should come as a byproduct of happiness — a factor that comes from happiness, derives from it.

Happiness will be there when success is gone, when it’s been subtracted from the equation. Happiness will be there when all else fails, when the answers don’t align and your numbers don’t match up. Happiness is the only answer there is because success is something that should only come when you are doing what you love, not the other way around. It’s the end product of following your passions. Because success may seem like the goal, but happiness is the way there.

Success is all the money in the world; happiness is having people to spend it on.

Success is measurable; happiness is limitless.

Success is a fancy car; happiness is a great ride.

Success is working hard; happiness is loving the work.

Success is the fame; happiness is the rise.

Success is the race; happiness is the finish line.

Success is having everyone know your name; happiness is having the right people know your name.

Success is being right; happiness is being true.

Success is earned, happiness is achieved.

Success is awards; happiness is its own reward.

Success is money in the bank; happiness can’t be deposited.

Success is private jets; happiness is flying high.

Success is never easy; happiness will never feel difficult.

Success is money; happiness is value.

Success is sacrifice; happiness is plentiful.

Success is late hours; happiness is all day.

Success is second homes; happiness is always home.

Success is material things; happiness is in the materials.

Success is pursuing your dreams; happiness is living your dreams.

Success is praise; happiness is never needing it.

Success is reaching the top; happiness has no ceiling.

Success is all the money in the world; happiness is needing none of it.

Success is doing what you love; happiness is loving what you do.

Success is just ahead; happiness was never behind.

Success is pursued; happiness is acquired.

Success is getting everything you ever wanted; happiness is not needing any of it.

Success is calculated; happiness doesn’t need a cheat sheet.

Success is envied; happiness is shared.

Success is perfection; happiness is embracing the imperfections.

Success is going the distance; happiness is enjoying the destination.

Photo credit: WENN

Lauren Martin

Lauren Martin

Staff Writer

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