Which Comes First, Happiness or Success?

Which Comes First, Happiness or Success?

Which Comes First, Happiness or Success?

Which comes first, happiness or success?  That’s kinda like: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?… But I think in this case the concepts of happiness and success are more abstract and even harder to answer.  The problem in answering this question lies in the fact that everyone has a different concept/opinion/idea of what both happiness and success are; concepts which are normally not precise no matter who we are talking about.

Even for those who have formulated a precise schematic of what happiness and success are (for them), and even if they fulfill every requirement of what it means to be happy and successful, once they have “ticked all the boxes”, once they have arrived at what they thought happiness and success were, their ideas of what happiness and success are, have changed.  In other words, when they finally arrive at the goal they have set, they are surprised to find out that it has moved and that all that is left behind is a “forwarding address”.  This is why they say it’s the journey that’s important and not the destination.  Once you arrive, at some point you’ll need to set out for a new destination and this accumulation of “travel time” is far greater than the time one spends at their “final destinations”.

What Comes First, Happiness or Success?
                  Mother Teresa

For the majority, success in today’s society is usually directly correlated to one’s bank account.  The higher the number, the more successful you are.  For some, they like to correlate their success to their level of happiness, saying that they are rich in time although poor in money or that their wealth lies in the relationships that they have with their spouse, children and loved ones.

Quick side note… I find it amusing when people say money is not important or money can’t buy you happiness because anyone who has used this phrase has obviously never been truly poor. Because no matter how “wealthy” you are in other aspects of your life, if you can’t buy food to eliminate your hunger and provide a roof over your head, few other thoughts will enter your mind outside of getting something to eat and finding a place to stay warm and dry.  So money can buy you at least a small but important part of your happiness.

But for the argument of which comes first, happiness or success, I’m talking about a level of happiness and a feeling of success that, apart from those dying from hunger and fearing for their lives, we all search for once our basic physiological needs have been satisfied.  For some we could even stop right here… I’m healthy, I have food and shelter so I feel happy and successful.

So why do we want more?  What Comes First, Happiness or Success?

We’ll have to leave that for another discussion, another day…

For now, no matter what your idea of happiness and success are, the question I hope that you can answer here is:  Which do you think comes first…. Happiness or success… success or happiness?


But before you do… first, let’s rank the following choices from the most important [1] to the least important [7] as they are related to your feelings of happiness and level of success and justify why you have chosen to order them so.  *If you feel that there is something missing, write it into the last space (the list will now be 1-8).

Your personal relationships (family, friends and loved ones).
Your relationship with your significant other (girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife).
Your job/work.
Your education.
Your wealth.
Your health.
Your personal freedom.

What is “happiness” for you?

What is “success” for you?

And finally, back to the original question:  Which do you think comes first, happiness or success and why?

Now, let’s check out this short video and answer a few questions…

Shawn Achor:  The Happy Secret to Better Work (12 minutes).

Just in case you’re interested in which came first, the chicken or the egg… here’s a little food for thought 😉 – Article from Time Magazine On-line and a video from AsapScience.

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