It may not surprise you to learn that success and happiness seem to go hand in hand. According to a New York Times opinion piece written by Arthur Brooks, president of a public policy think tank in Washington, D.C., research shows that people who feel they are successful are twice as likely to say they are very happy as people who don’t feel that way.
But this happiness equation isn’t as simple as it seems. If you’re like me, more times than not you automatically associate “success” with money—and that’s where things get interesting. Brooks goes on to point out that you can measure your success in any “currency” you choose. Sure, you can count it in dollars or the kind of car you drive. But what if your currency were how many kids you taught to read or the amount of time you spent protecting irreplaceable habitats?
Don’t we each owe it to ourselves to figure out what currency matters most in our lives? Taking the time to look past old assumptions and reflect on what’s truly meaningful can bring a fresh perspective to everything you do.
Eight months ago I left behind a job I liked to do work that I’m truly passionate about. As I’ve discovered, pursuing your passion can be a remarkable gift to yourself. I believe it also increases the likelihood of experiencing the “success” that Brooks describes. So, while my days of a steady paycheck and benefits are now just memories, I can honestly say I’ve never felt more fulfilled and happy. Hey, there’s that word again—HAPPY.
Interestingly, redefining your currency doesn’t always mean financial sacrifice. When you’re doing work that’s meaningful to you, the extra energy and enthusiasm you bring to each day can yield surprising results and open up new opportunities. Sometimes resources just seem to follow. If so, that’s not a bad side benefit.
Either way, here’s to hoping you discover the currency that means genuine success to you.