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The Trap of Happiness and Success: A Personal Journey


I embarked on a journey to understand the true desires of people when it comes to their ultimate wishes. Curious to explore the depths of human aspirations, I approached 20 individuals at random and posed a simple yet profound question: "If I had a magic wand and could provide you with one gift, what would it be?" Additionally, I sought out another group of people and asked them, "If you could guarantee one thing for your children, what would it be?"


To my surprise, nearly 80% of the responses revolved around the themes of happiness and success. This discovery led me to ponder why so many individuals yearn for these elusive concepts when they are inherently subjective. How did we come to believe that these were the ultimate goals we should strive for? The answer lies in the influences of society, culture, media, and even our own families. As Vishen Lakhiani, the founder of Mindvalley, refers to it, this collective influence can be termed the "Culturescape."


From a young age, I too found myself ensnared in the pursuit of happiness and success. Entranced by the Culturescape's narrative, I diligently followed the prescribed path to what society dictated as success, convinced that reaching that destination would unlock eternal happiness. Yet, with each milestone I achieved, my discontent grew. I pursued a career in law, worked at prestigious firms, climbed the corporate ladder, and yet, I found myself increasingly dissatisfied. I questioned how this could be—wasn't I doing everything right? But then I asked myself, whose definition of "everything" was I following? Who determined this was the only way? I vividly recall the day I made the courageous decision to quit law for good. Some of my lawyer classmates reached out, bewildered by my choice, asking, "How did you do it?" and "How did you gather the strength to tell your parents this wasn't your true calling?" They couldn't fathom the notion of seeking genuine happiness and success.


As Earl Nightingale astutely observed, 95% of people in the world—the masses—are blindly chasing a fallacious notion, while the remaining 5% are the true architects of their own happiness and success.


Reflecting upon this staggering statistic, it is disheartening to realize that the majority is traversing the wrong path. What sets these individuals apart? They possess something vital—the knowledge of how the world truly operates. They understand the universal rules by which one can navigate and triumph in this intricate game called life (which I Will address in a different article).


So, what then defines success? According to Earl Nightingale, it is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. Success involves setting goals, knowing where one wants to go, and steadfastly progressing toward those goals. It is a continuous journey, where the attainment of one goal paves the way for the next, and so on. That, in essence, is the very foundation of success.


And what about happiness?


Happiness is a multifaceted state of being that encompasses not only feelings of joy and contentment but also a profound sense that one's life is meaningful and valued. Harvard University conducted a groundbreaking study on happiness, and one recurring theme among the participants was the significance of strong connections with the people around them—family, children, parents, friends, and coworkers.


This realization brings to mind another teaching of Earl Nightingale that left an indelible impression on me. It connects happiness to success in a profound way—our level of reward in life must be in perfect equilibrium with our level of service. Service, the essence of our human nature, is intimately tied to human connection. When we set goals that ultimately serve others and successfully achieve them, we strike a harmonious balance between happiness and success.


For me, this revelation took on tangible meaning when I discovered my purpose. After leaving the legal profession, my journey toward aligning my work with my passion was far from linear. Yet, I persevered, and today, I find myself in a place where my purpose and my profession intertwine seamlessly. There is now a delicate balance between the service I provide and the rewards I reap. Although I still have numerous goals to pursue, I can genuinely declare that I am both happy and successful.


In essence, the trap of happiness and success lies in our adherence to societal norms and external expectations. True fulfillment is discovered when we dare to define our aspirations individually when we begin to think individually, align our actions with our purpose, and nurture meaningful connections. By embracing a holistic approach to success and happiness, encompassing personal growth, service to others, and genuine connections, we break free from the shackles of the Culturescape and embark on a journey of authentic fulfillment.


As we redefine success as the progressive realization of a worthy ideal and happiness as a state of being that stems from meaningful connections and a sense of purpose, we create a new paradigm. A paradigm that celebrates the journey of self-discovery, the pursuit of our passions, and the impact we have on others.


Let us no longer be trapped in the pursuit of someone else's version of happiness and success. Instead, let us embrace our individuality, cultivate resilience in the face of imperfections, and forge our own paths. It is through this authentic approach that we find the true essence of our humanity and create a life filled with genuine happiness and meaningful success.


So, my fellow journeyers, let us step boldly into the unknown, embracing the imperfect, and weaving our own narratives of happiness and success. Together, let us shape a world that celebrates individuality, fosters connection, and inspires others to embark on their unique paths toward fulfillment.


Until then, I bid you Adieu ✌🏼

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