Why Chasing Success Can Lead To Unhappiness

Why chasing success can lead to unhappiness

In today’s Western society there is a culture of success. Characteristics such as effort, competitiveness, professionalism and leadership are better considered than others such as empathy and camaraderie, because the first capabilities are those that lead a person to achieve success.

And people who have achieved fame and wealth have higher social status. If you have many followers and “likes” on social networks, and if you can afford to buy high-end products or the most expensive ones on the market; You are considered in today’s society as a winner.

However, as they say, money does not buy happiness. In fact, seeking success can lead to the opposite. Keep reading and you can discover why pursuing success can lead to unhappiness, and what alternatives there are to seeking happiness.

Why can chasing success make us unhappy?

Before answering that question, it is important to clarify two nuances. On the one hand, what can lead us to unhappiness is not success itself, but the action of pursuing success. On the other hand, normally when we talk about success, we refer to work success. Having said that, I can explain why chasing success can make us unhappy.

1. By focusing on a single area of ​​our lives

When you have read success, it is likely that you have thought about getting rich, buying a big house, being famous, traveling a lot or owning a company…, that is, about work and economic achievements, but not about other forms of success.

To achieve these goals, it takes a lot of effort and perseverance, even over the years (unless you were born into a wealthy family). This high level of demand can often imply focus so much on work life that the rest of the important areas of life are neglected such as friendships, family, self-care, personal development…

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This can make us unhappy, since no one can have a single source of happiness. To feel fulfilled we have to focus on improving or maintaining several areas of our life that are important to us, not just the work-economic area. This is the main reason why money does not bring happiness (although I do admit that it makes the path easier).

2. Expectations of the moment of success

On the other hand, while we pursue success, we believe that the joy it will give us will be very great and long-lasting, so much so that we think it is worth suffering for a long time to achieve it.

However, The joy that arises from achieving the goal lasts a short time, since, like all emotions, joy is brief and ephemeral. Even when the time comes, the emotion may not be as strong as we thought, and we may end up feeling disappointed instead of enjoying success.

This also happens because we confuse happiness with the emotion of joy. Happiness is not an emotion as such, because it is a long and lasting state in which mostly pleasant sensations are felt.

Among them, joy, yes, but also less intense emotions such as tranquility and serenity. Even in between there may be unpleasant emotions, but that doesn’t mean you stop being happy.

3. Our happiness ends depending on achievements

When our only source of happiness is success, and taking into account that the joy of achievements is usually momentary, our happiness becomes dependent on achieving goals. The moment we achieve an achievement, we think again about what new goal we have to set to feel this good again.

So we need more, and more and more, but the emotion will never be lasting and, therefore, it will never be enough to make us happy (because we need more than just enjoying the work area). This can cause a feeling of emptiness and unhappiness, which we will try to fill with more work and achievements, and so on for the rest of our lives if we do not try something different to achieve happiness.

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How can I achieve happiness then?

To stop chasing success and to reach happiness, there are two paths to follow at the same time. The first method to achieve happiness is the one we have already mentioned precisely before: success.

However, I’m not talking about having a great car or a thousand followers on instagram, but to success in terms of achieving the objectives we set for ourselves, whether in the short or long term. And not only in the work area, but also apply it in all the vital areas that are important to us.

Achieving goals gives us that momentary joy we were talking about, as well as feeling self-actualized. Again, it is necessary to clarify one aspect: meeting our goals does lead us to happiness. What happens is that, although necessary, it is not enough, and Obsessing about chasing success can lead to unhappiness. That is why we must accompany our achievement of achievements by taking care of our vital values.

The vital values

The other path that leads us to happiness is personal values, that is, what vital areas or moral ideas are most important for each person (family, friends, work/studies, spirituality, honesty, contact with nature…). Personal values ​​depend on the characteristics and expectations of each person’s life.

Acting in accordance with our values, taking care of these vital areas and staying faithful to our moral ideas, allows us to feel at peace with ourselves, calm, serene and enjoy life more. The most common thing is that each person has specific preferences and does not encompass many values, because taking care of so many would be exhausting and stressful.

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Even so, living according to our values ​​involves constant and conscious work. In fact, We can understand values ​​as life projects, which are desirable but always unattainable, since we will always be able to follow that path, there is no end. And how can you do it?

How to live according to my values?

The first step to seeking happiness is to decide what your values ​​are. Remember not to choose so many that you cannot cover them. If you find it difficult to identify which ones are most important to you, give them all a numerical value that indicates how relevant they are and sort them based on those numbers. Some examples of values ​​are:

Once you have completed that step, set goals within each of them. A goal you can set is to visit your parents every week, because one of your values ​​is family. Another example is going to the countryside at least once a month because it is important for you to be in contact with nature.

Remember that values ​​are an endless path, so You are going to need to set new goals every time you notice that you are neglecting a value. Go little by little and don’t set goals too high that may frustrate you. If possible, anticipate possible problems that may arise and make a plan to deal with them.

You only have the last step left, which is to start fulfilling your plans to live according to your values. If you don’t feel like you are happy, reevaluate the values ​​you have chosen, they may not be the ones that best fit you or not enough time has passed. Keep in mind that the most important thing is that you enjoy the journey. Now your new success will be taking care of your values.