How to Find Success and Happiness Right Between Your Eyes!

strategic-secrets-university-courses-banner3 pounds and 6 inches. A weight less than a half-gallon of milk and a length the size of a dollar bill.  It seems simplistic to sum up the totality of a human brain based upon weight and size, but regardless of how we choose to define it, the biggest key to success and happiness in your life is your brain and more particularly how you think.

In my podcast, Mind For Life, I explore how successful people think, what they think about, what their thoughts dwell upon, and their process of thinking both in success and failure. Time after time, I have come upon the principle that success and happiness are more about how one thinks about the world than what one achieves or what one has.

One of the more interesting aspects of our human thought process has to do with our language.  See, our language is the driver of our thought. As the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” He understood the principle that how we define and think about this world, how we think about things like happiness and success has to do with how our language works. 

Let me give you an example. In my recent interview with (RL Chance – Monetize Your Skills), he talked a bit about the American Dream.  Originally, the American Dream meant a set of ideals like democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity and equality.  It also meant a freedom that includes the opportunity for prosperity, success, and an upward social mobility. James Truslow Adams (not related to John Adams) defined the American Dream in 1931 this way: 

“Life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.”

Over time, the American Dream has come to include the ownership of a house, having a good job, having food on the table, and other “possession related” ideals. The American Dream has become synonymous with success in the United States. However, is that what success really is? Does owning a house equal success and happiness? It’s a matter of how we define success and happiness.

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 The point is, each of us needs to be able to figure out for ourselves how we define success.  In our interview, Chance defined success this way – “Achieving the goal that you set, that you believe is good for you, and you enjoy it when you achieve it.” This definition reflects an active choice, a particular belief, and a unique reward. Let’s look at each.

An Active Choice

Success is most definitely related to accomplishment. When we set goals and accomplish them, we can sit back and be proud of the fact that we did something. Even if it was something small, we accomplished a task. The fact of accomplishment means we were successful to the extent that we finished something we set out to do. We completed the goal. We reached the finish line. We made it. Now to be successful in life, part of that means we accomplish certain goals that we set for ourselves but the goals we set have to do with the second aspect.

A Particular Belief

This is where things move to our thinking. What we believe is important in life means everything.   As we previously mentioned, a particular belief about the American Dream has led countless people to pursue the goal of owning a home. I don’t want to say that’s a bad goal, but if you think that success in life is tied to your ownership of a house (or anything else for that matter) you may find yourself short changed when the allure of that house loses its luster. 

Twenty years ago, my wife and I built a brand new house. We sat with the contractor and picked out the cabinets, the paint color, the door handles, and the carpet. We got exactly what we wanted.  We were so happy because we had accomplished a small part of the American Dream. Twenty years later the luster of that house has tarnished a bit. We still like our house but our tastes have changed, the décor is dated, and the house is in need of repairs that naturally come with the passing of time. Fortunately, we didn’t believe that success in life was tied to our house. 

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What we believe about success and happiness has to do with how we define it (I have written an article called Definitions Matter: What You Need To Know About Names for more on this) but our beliefs – our values and dreams are what drive our goals. In our interview, Chance mentioned that we need to be able to get alone to really figure out what’s important. To get a grasp of our purpose and to define what success really means so that our goals aren’t based on things that don’t have any meaning for us, but they are based on things that really matter, things that are really important.

A Unique Reward

The last component of a definition of success has to do with enjoying our accomplishments. Now, again, enjoyment can mean different things to different people. Sometimes it is exuberance. Sometimes it is a knowing confidence. And other times it is simple joy. We might be able to say that the level of our joy is tied back to our values and beliefs. In other words, if we accomplish something and we find that we don’t really enjoy that accomplishment – that it drifts away like a vapor – maybe our belief about that goal’s importance was off base.

However, when we finish something we should celebrate it. Chance shared a great quote when he said “what gets celebrated, gets remembered.” It’s important to recount our victories – to celebrate the wins because in remembering our successes, it gives us confidence as we move forward in our journey.

How do you find success and happiness right between your eyes? It has to do with that small collection of tissue called your brain and how you think about success and happiness. Much of the time, if we aren’t careful, we may find ourselves chasing after someone else’s ideas about success and happiness only to find that when we get there it’s not what we really wanted.

Instead of marching forward on a journey, we should take the time to think about where we are going and more importantly ask ourselves the question – is that where we really want to go? Take the time to define the destination. Take the time to think about what success really means for you.

Jeff Bogaczyk guest authored this post and is the host of The Mind For Life Podcast. He writes for The Mission and enjoys reading philosophy. Connect wiht him to learn strategic insights on how to have success and happiness today.