When we think about the most successful people we know, we tend to think of those who’ve made the biggest career advancements, make the most money, have the biggest houses and the best “toys.”
The façade of success is so shiny that it can easily impress us and lead to assumptions that those folks must be pretty happy. We don’t always believe the old adage that “money can’t buy happiness,” because it sure seems to! In fact, as the famous 2010 Princeton study shows, people’s happiness is certainly affected by their financial success — but only up to around $75,000 a year in earnings. An even more recent poll from 2012 shows that the number might even be closer to $50,000.
We’ve likely all known (or seen) people who have all the trappings of success but are somehow dissatisfied, or unhappy, in life. What’s the point of having fancy toys and impressive business cards if we’re miserable?
Perhaps we’re looking at success through the wrong lens?
Everyone wants to be successful, but the “success” we often see in mainstream media isn’t always what it seems. What if we turned off our TVs, tuned out the gossip blogs and finally created a new, more empowering definition of success? A definition that has us not only feeling outwardly successful, but also feeling inwardly fulfilled.
Through this definition, success isn't just about making a bunch of money — it's about feeling a sense of purpose, focus and joy in life. It’s about so much more than having the best toys.
Get clear on your “why” for the world. What is your unique vision for the future of our planet that inspires you and fills you with a sense of hope and purpose? Without this critical piece, we can feel like life and work lack meaning.
What beautiful future do you envision for your life? Without a vision for yourself, your work can feel grueling and lead to frustration, resentment and apathy.
By focusing on our bigger "why" for the world and ourselves, our work and play are infused with greater joy and satisfaction.
Each morning, ask yourself these three essential questions:
1. Why? (Remember your “why” for the world and yourself)
2. What do I really need to do? Clarify the few most important things in your life. This will have you feeling more clear-headed and taking the actions that will give you the most traction.
3. What would make me proud? Notice what — when reflecting on your day — would make you proud? This helps look at life from a 360-degree lens, considering our relationships, health and well-being.
Clarify what success feels like today. Ask yourself, “How do I want to feel today?” As author and motivational speaker Danielle LaPorte teaches, you’re going to feel more successful if you’re feeling the feelings you want to feel. By noticing this first thing in the morning, the stage is set for you to actively cultivate more experiences that generate those positive feelings.
Nisha Moodley is a member of the DailyWorth Experts program. Read more about the program here.