There are a million ways to define what “success” actually means. We know when we are successful at something, and we know when we are failing at something. However, we can’t put this into words, and the way we judge success is going to be different from how others judge it.
So if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or an entrepreneur looking to attain a higher level of success, you need to stop what you’re doing and ask yourself: What is success to me?
Most people don’t have an answer, and that’s completely fine. After all, just about every definition of success is going to be wrong to someone else, and as you get older you may find that your definition of success is changing.
If we don’t know how to define success, then how can we attain it? Through happiness.
If you’re happy with everything you do, and if you’re living a life that’s full of things you’re passionate about and people you care about, then you’re going to find that you’re “succeeding,” no matter how you define the term.
“One of the best decisions that I made early on before a lot of my large-scale traditional success, was making a commitment to myself to always be the decider in what success meant to me,” says Brian Evans, the Inc. 500 entrepreneur named to Forbes’ List of Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2017. “Success wasn’t a number in my bank account. Success wasn’t how many social media followers I had. Success was up to me to decide, and by keeping success based on daily goals and accomplishments, I woke up one day and realized that I had accomplished many incredible things.”
Happiness is the driving force behind success. If you want to find true success as an entrepreneur, you need to figure out what it is that makes you happy and focus on that – the results will follow.
Success vs. happiness
While happiness creates success, it’s important to point out that success does not create happiness. While the two are connected, they aren’t interchangeable.
Think about it: When you were younger, you were able to succeed at things you didn’t like. Maybe you had a math or biology class that you didn’t enjoy. But you still found time to study for them so you could get good grades, or “succeed” in your class.
Compare it to a class you did enjoy. Maybe you did really well in your English or science class, and the fact that you were engaged and interested helped you do well. You probably didn’t have to study nearly as hard in the classes you actually cared about.
Just because you’re doing well at something doesn’t mean you enjoy it. The same can go with your work – just because you’re laboring doesn’t mean that you’re happy with your job. Maybe you’re successful at your job, but does it really seem successful to be stuck doing something you don’t like?
Success and happiness aren’t the same thing, and entrepreneurs know this well. If I were to start a business that I wasn’t passionate about, I wouldn’t be surprised if it performs poorly or completely fails. Why would it work? I would have almost no motivation to make the company work well.
Status Labs, a company I built to be a very profitable firm with a Fast 50 and Inc. 500 ranking was a passion project for me. But was I happy – even with all that I had learned and had made? No. So I combined my love of food and NASA background to co-found 3D food printing startup, BeeHex, to feed the world.
Hard work breeds happiness
If you’re ever wondering what breeds happiness, you might be surprised that the things you enjoy won’t make you happy. While watching TV, listening to music and lounging around are enjoyable, they only lead to temporary satisfaction – and they could be holding you back from happiness.
Hungarian psychologist and TED speaker Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is one of the leading experts on the science of happiness. Csikszentmihalyi’s research has led him to an undeniable truth: People are happier when they’re challenged creatively.
You can see this in everything you do. There’s some creative outlet you have that keeps you entertained for hours, even if the outlet is work related. Csikszentmihalyi’s studies show that people are happiest when they’re engaged in this activity. Their self-worth increases and they begin to work near maximum efficiency.
These types of tasks are very different from mindless labor. Working a job that requires minimum effort is going to breed unhappiness, and the unhappiness is just going to make you worse off at everything you do.
But real, hard work is going to benefit you in every way possible. Not only are you going to end up better off, but you’re going to be happier because of the work you do.
If you’re looking to find success as an entrepreneur, you need to find happiness first. If you want to be happy, you need to focus on the things you enjoy. Simple enjoyment won’t cut it – you need to work on things that provide real results and give you real satisfaction.
When we work hard on something we care about, we become happier overall. We pour ourselves into a business that we love, and we get to reap the benefits of the success.
Happiness in your life is proven to increase your productivity by over 30 percent, and you’ll also end up living a longer, healthier life than the average person. There are no drawbacks to being happy, and most people never strive for happiness because they’ve been lied to and believe that happiness is the result of success.
Success is the result of happiness, and happiness is the result of putting everything you have into everything you care about. Love your family and friends, work hard every day and turn your life into what you’ve always wanted it to be. That’s how you become happy, and that’s how you can succeed.
This article was written by Jordan French from CIO and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.