What If Being Successful Won’t Make You Happy
Will you still keep working hard to achieve the goals you have set for yourself?
My friend’s mind was made up.
He was set to travel out of the country.
Of a truth, the things he sees around him have dared him to finally decided to go for the money no matter what.
He graduated two months ago. But before he gained admission into the Polytechnic School, he had a babbling saloon that makes him a decent amount, until one of his classmates and friend returned from a neighboring country.
His name, Kelvin.
Kelvin dropped out of school because he lost his mother, who was his sponsor. Someone help him out of Nigeria, and after about one year and six months, he returned.
He returned with a fat bank account, has bought a number of landed properties, rides his own flashy car, and moves with some of the cutest girls in town.
He even graduated with the rest of the class, even when he didn't write the second national diploma exam with the rest of the class. As of then, Kelvin was still outside the country hustling.
Upon a few outings with this Kelvin guy, the decent sum my friend makes from his babbling saloon suddenly seemed too little for him. He started craving for something bigger. He wants to make it big, just like Kevin.
His heart is set to hustle and to give everything it takes to make his money big time.
An average Nigerian knows that hustling, even though pays some people, still remains one of the most difficult and illegal means of getting money. Like you literally have to grind all night chatting and making fraudulent business transactions online while others are sleeping.
The heartbreaking news is that most hustlers never make a dime even after years and years of consistent hard work. For this reason, some have resorted to drug addiction and subsequently come down with psychiatric problems.
I look at my young friend with so much empathy.
Deep down, I knew it wasn't the kind of success that will make him happy.
Still looking into his eyes, I gave him a piece of candid advice. Unfortunately; he was already set for the journey. There was no going back for him.
Success Won't Make Some People Happy.
A few days ago I came across something that hit me like a ton of brick. It was from Bronnie Ware's 2012 book, The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying.
Of the five regrets people experience on their dying bed reminiscing on the life they have lived, " I wished I hadn't worked so hard!" topped the list.
It was literally fixed on that first one. I knew I too was a potential victim.
There are projects and goals I am currently working on that deep down i knew won't contribute to my happiness in any way. Some are just for the pleasure of it. Some are for the money I can make from them.
I was pained that to realize the direction my selfishness was leading me.
Really, our generation is at a huge disadvantage. Hard work and success have been made to seem like the only ticket to the kingdom of happiness. To make it worse, this mentality has been reinforced by many celebrities and successful entrepreneurs most of us look up to.
The truth is this, hard work is important but more important is your motivation for the hard work.
It determines whether or not you will look up to your past on your dying bed and regret every extra effort you put into the goals you set for yourself.
The best and first motivation for hard work should be to be happy. Success should be a byproduct of doing what makes you happy.
I have a few friends who have made it big in the street.
They have millions of naira in their accounts. But I can tell you one thing for sure, the major source of their happiness is external- from the outside.
This includes social media and in public places where they can show who has the most money.
One of their favorite places is nightclubs.
They go there and buy a casket worth millions of naira. They do this not because the few drinks and shisha are worth that amount. But instead because of the feeling that comes from being seen as the guy with the longest money in the room.
They don't stop there.
Most times, they have someone record the drama and later share the video clips through their social media handles to get a second round of good vibes from their followers.
What a wrong approach to pursue happiness!
If there is one thing I know for sure about success and happiness it is this:
You can be successful and not be happy; on the flip side, you don't have to be successful to be happy either. You can be happy even without being seen as a huge public success.
True happiness comes from within. It is something very private rather than public.
You really don't need to be seen as the guy with the fatest bank balance to live a happy life. You don't need to ride in a flashy car to be happy.
I learned that from my own experience.
When I didn't have one, I loved bikes.
I felt buying a new bike will make me happy for the rest of my life. A few months after getting one of the most recent and fishy ladies' bikes, my happiness level has returned to normal. To a baseline.
Now I have found the source of my happiness: writing.
That's another lesson of happiness. True happiness comes from what you can do daily rather than what you do once in a while.
The final lesson is this.
You should try not to put hard work or success first.
To be happy you need to first identify what makes you happy. Then work hard on it. Daily.
It doesn't matter whether or not you become a huge public success.
One thing that is certain is that you will be happy with your life and record a lot of private victories.
That is the mystery of the love of work. It is the secret to personal progress and fulfillment in life.