The Difference Between Happiness & Success |

Ashley is an Indianapolis-based entrepreneur and marketing strategist for creative women in business.


The Difference Between Happiness & Success

Choosing between success and happiness is a matter of beliefs and actions. Do you prioritize happiness over success or vice versa?

Many studies are now being conducted to understand how humans perceive happiness and success and helping analyze different behavioral patterns to understand what it really means to be happy.

Learn To Differentiate The Two

When I was starting out in business, I repeatedly made the same mistake — believing that happiness and success meant the same thing. I often see my clients making this mistake too.

The reality is that they are not the same at all. Today, you’ll see people striving for success because they believe that is what’s going to make them happy. However, it doesn’t mean that if you achieve a goal, you’re not going to be happy about it. Of course, you are, but you’re going to experience momentary happiness, and this unfortunately doesn’t last forever.

What Is Success?

Usually, we associate success with things like a high salary, lots of money, or the ability to make significant, powerful decisions. The actual definition of success is, “The accomplishment of a name, attainment of popularity or profit, or money and achieving desired aims,” meaning that success comes when you get what you set out to do.

It’s important to note here that there is absolutely nothing in that definition that says anything about being happy.

What Is Happiness?

Happiness is defined as “a feeling of contentment, delight, or being pleased.” Note that it has nothing to do with success— meaning it doesn’t have anything to do with how much money you make, or how popular you are, or how many people know your name.

Explaining or defining happiness is not as simple as it seems, and that is because everybody has their own definition of happiness.

According to research in positive psychology carried out by Sonja Lyubomirsky PhD., a happy person is an individual who frequently experiences positive emotions throughout the day. Such individuals are bound to feel more positive emotions than negative emotions like anxiety, sadness, or hopelessness.

Remember, happiness is a feeling, and because it’s a feeling, it’s always available to us. There shouldn’t be any reason why we should postpone our happiness until we achieve a goal. Happiness can be attained in the now.

It’s Ultimately About Happiness

Many studies have shown that it’s happy people who actually achieve more. They live longer, and they’re more likely to be promoted at work. They have found that it’s happiness that led to more success.

According to psychologist Daniel Gilbert, a psychology professor at Harvard, happiness is the ultimate goal that drives all the big and small decisions in our lives. He further elaborated that a good decision is a decision that brings a sense of wellbeing, happiness, and contentment.

This is why being happy right now, in the present, is crucial to achieving our goals. Instead of waiting to achieve your dreams, desires, and whatever level of success you’ve defined yourself, you can be happy today.

Happiness Is A Feeling

Remember again – happiness is a feeling, so it’s vital to do more of the things each day that make us happy to produce this genuine emotion. After all, you can’t fake happiness. 

Find small ways throughout the day to enjoy the work you’re immersing yourself in. Whether it’s listening to your favorite playlist, drinking your favorite coffee, finding a more relaxing workspace, or working alongside people that motivate you, find opportunities that help you work toward success while enjoying it.

Realign & Redefine Your Goals

Success is a byproduct of our happiness. If we stop putting so much pressure on ourselves in succeeding with our goals, they become that much more fun and realistic to hit. Goals are about growing; they’re about learning, evolving, and becoming all that we can be. They are not about defining who we are. 

When you choose to work and live in a way that brings about true enjoyment, whether you’ve achieved a goal or not, and you focus on things that produce more happiness in your day, you don’t give up growing and evolving, you just become more content and grateful.

You shouldn’t mistake being happy to give up on your dreams. When you’re happy, pursuing your dreams is a lot easier and more fun.


The happier we are, the easier taking action, and getting our desired result is going to be. When we’re happy taking action regardless of the problems, we’re going to enjoy the entire ride. But to get there, we must build happiness into our day and remind ourselves that we can be happy in the here and now.
If you found this article helpful, consider joining our Influential Entrepreneur Community Group on Facebook where we dive deep into topics relevant to living a full and extraordinary life as well as in business. We’re here to help you take small powerful steps forward towards the life of your dreams.

©2020 Ashley Monk. All rights reserved.

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