Most think that professional success is equivalent to happiness and contentment. However, they often find that even with a fat wallet and platinum credit card, happiness can be elusive. History has repeatedly shown us that just because you are rich and famous doesn’t mean you are also happy. Robin Williams is a tragic example.
Why is that? Raj Raghunathan has written a book titled “If You’re so Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?” Here is what he learned:
One section of Raghunathan’s work talks about ambition. We all strive to find something we’re good at, something we can master. High achievers often have a plethora of skills and accomplishments, but they usually don’t feel the “high” that success should give you. According to Raj, those people are not happy because they measure mastery incorrectly.
They use social comparisons to define their level of success. Of course, this approach helps no one. So, instead of focusing on one’s own achievements, he or she will concentrate more on earning that cash and getting recognized for his or her work (extrinsic factors) instead of just reaping satisfaction from doing a good job (intrinsic factors).
These types of people (like many of us) define their success and worth by comparing themselves to others and using others’ judgments of themselves. Furthermore, the never-ending thirst for bigger and better is another reason why such folks never truly achieve happiness.
Forgo Success for Mastery
As materialistic as we are, if we keep chasing external signs of success (i.e. a luxury car, a big house, or expensive gadgets), we will keep on chasing them without ever achieving a state of bliss. Buddha’s teachings show us that wanting is the root of suffering. Instead, opt to pursue mastery. Raghunathan says that when you don’t have a need to compare yourself to others, you find yourself instinctively leaning towards things you like to do and that you are good at, which translates to you reaching mastery anyway – along with the power, the fame, and the money as a bonus. You should aim to find something you like regardless of how others see you or what others do, master it, and reap the rewards rather than just relying on the rewards to make you happy.
You can have your cake and eat it too, but bake it because you like the process of baking — making something with your own two hands.
And to Elevate your Mood Right Away: