Success vs Happiness: Are They The Same Thing?


Here’s an interesting question: Does achieving success lead to happiness? Or, are happiness and success the same thing?

Sarah Vermunt, in an Entrepreneur article Success vs. Happiness: Don’t Be Fooled Into Thinking They’re the Same
gave her thoughts on this.

There is a difference between real success which leads to happiness, and the superficial type of success which is about stuff and status. There is nothing wrong per se about stuff and status. It’s when they become the only focus of your life and you become obsessed with achieving that type of success that it becomes problematic. The superficiality of it will be all too apparent to the one who has achieved such type of success.

We all desire and you might even say, crave for the first type of success.

An interesting point which Sarah Vermunt brings out is that we are enticed by the things which we think will make us happy. So we tend to focus on achieving or getting those things. Yet, when we attain those things, we don’t feel happy. So success is not necessarily going to lead to happiness. It can be quite the opposite. She was successful, but miserable. So to the question of Success vs Happiness: Where the focus of success is on things, the measure of happiness is on feelings.

And that’s the difference.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Leonardo Di Caprio had this to say about success and happiness:

‘I’ve been very lucky to have achieved a lot of the things that I dreamt of achieving as a young man,’ he says. ‘But, at the end of the day – and I truly believe this – it is not about achieving great wealth or success. Because they don’t bring happiness ultimately. They really don’t. What matters is whether or not you’ve fulfilled the idea of having led an interesting life, whether you’ve contributed in some way to the world around you.’

Happiness is about the feeling of whether you have led a meaningful life.

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