The real reason so many successful people are unhappy, and what to do about it
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What does ‘success’ mean to you?
If you live in America, odds are that the success you’ve been shown over the years revolves around the “what” you can obtain. The cars, the houses, the clothes – those things are what you should strive for in order to live a happy life.
In school we learn about business, marketing, interview skills…everything we need to become another cog in the workforce and make that money (most times, for other people, but anyway…)
Plus, how many unhappy people have you seen on a yacht in magazine photos? None? Exactly.
Yet – SO MANY people who have achieved financial success still struggle in their relationships, their family lives, their personal relationship with themselves…why is this?
Our society has put so much weight on the image you project to the outside world, it has left behind the only thing that is actually important: How you feel about yourself when nobody else is around.
Our species has evolved through millions of years with biological tendencies, evolutionary advantages, environmental adaptations…ALL of which seem to be shoved under the rug of society for the sake of the next shiniest thing you can buy.
The society we are living in does NOT match up with our biological reality.
Our evolutionary hunting skills do not want us behind a desk for 9 hours a day.
Our hedonic adaptation (the brain’s way of getting bored with something after the novelty wears off) does not mix well with a materialistic society when something new is ALWAYS being released.
Hell, our sexual nature doesn’t even match up with the restrictions that society puts on us and what’s expected of us.
When you really look at it…it’s no wonder most people are miserable. How could they not be? They’ve been sold on a path of life that will never actually make them happy.
So – what is the answer?
The path to happiness requires brutal uncensored honesty with only one person: Yourself.
I have asked so many financially successful people what makes them feel fulfilled in life. A common answer: I never really stopped to think about it.
Now, it’s time to.
This means you stop thinking about what you’re being told to want. Stop thinking about what other people will have to say. Stop thinking about how you’ve been pressured and coerced into pursuing things you didn’t like.
Specifically think about where YOUR mind goes when it wanders. What do YOU think about in those final minutes before you fall asleep. Where do you wish you were during those work hours instead?
What do you want – and NEED out of your life?
Sure, maybe you want to work fewer hours…but why? Would the real reason be that you’ll have more time to surf, or rock climb, or play video games? Then what you want isn’t less time at work, it’s more time to pursue your passion.
Start figuring out your wants and needs. Define the person you want to become in order to accomplish the goals that will fulfill you along the way.
Read more books. Listen to more podcasts. Speak to more people. Break out of your daily routine before it eats you alive.
Spend time with yourself.
I understand this all becomes more difficult when you are married, or own a home, or have children, or all of the above. Nobody is saying to uproot your life and send everyone packing. But, you can make changes and adjustments that allow you to enjoy the time you DO have, which will help you create more fulfillment, which will help you feel happier in other areas of life, which will positively affect your entire universe.
It’s not easy, I understand. The reason why so few people have given themselves this honesty is because there’s a REAL risk that the life you’re living, is not the one you’d be most happy with. And if you feel that realization, it will cause internal conflict and struggle.
The typical response: Avoid the question altogether.
Sure, you could continue down that path and forget you read any of this. Convince yourself that your discomfort is actually comfortable and ‘the way that everyone is.’
Or, you could refuse to live a life of silent desperation any longer, and take control of how you’re spending your time on this earth.
I’ve got news for you: If you don’t do it for yourself, nobody else is going to.
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Most of misunderstanding and unnecessary struggles between people are simply due to different definitions, how I, you and others define a subject of our discussions. Agree on the definition of something – and all of a sudden an argument becomes self-resolved. So true for the subject of “success”. Define it first and only then your audience know what you are talking about. I have not noticed a clear definition of success in your post but implied one looks more like being limited to a financial and/or business success. From this, naturally lots of problems arises you attempt to give advice on. Define it differently, and all the advice becomes irrelevant. I am 60 yo guy, seen and experienced quite a lot, and if it is of interest to you here is the best – and most general ! – definition of success I have come across, from Chris Tate, an Australian stock trader: “living life on your own terms” (https://www.tradinggame.com.au/how-to-upset-people/). One can be successful with as much or as little as they choose … Cheers
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