What follows what: Happiness or Success

In our professional life, is it important to be successful, or is it important to be happy? A question, that many people think about. Many of us think that being professionally successful keeps us happy. But, is that true? Take a moment and think about it. Isn’t it better, if we look at it, otherwise?


What does success means to you? It is the answer to this question, which would set the foundation of whether your would be happy or not. So, if you become successful, you might be happy or, you might not be happy. 

Each one of us have a different thought process. We are driven by things, which are external or which are internal. These are the forces, which drive us.


Let me cite a couple of examples. 

  1. In case, I am successful by achieving success in my career and becoming the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) or the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an organization, but then, does it gives me happiness? Maybe or may be not. I might need to make sacrifices, which I am not very happy about. I may need to reduce the time I spend with my family. Or, maybe I need to make a choice between attending my daughter’s birthday vis-a-vis attending an important business meeting. I might be successful if I choose the latter, but I will be happier attending my daughter’s birthday. Success comes at a price.
  2. I love to work with people and help them solve problems and have a career as a

    counselor or a coach. I like to counsel them in their careers, coach them and help them in developing their competencies. A similar dilemma comes up here as well. There is one of my team members, who has come to me for some help in his career decision. However, I have my anniversary on the same day. Now, what do I choose? I might be successful if I spend an hour or more with my team member. However, I have a date with my spouse, which I should not miss. 


When we look at these two cases, we can see a stark difference in what do we take, as our decision. Happiness and Success are mutually independent.


I had gone through a similar experience, when there was a national level role, which I thought would help me grow in my career. I thought, this might be the opportunity, which would propel my career to new heights. Though, one sacrifice that I had to make was to leave my family and go to another city. It was a choice that I had between being happy or being successful. Being a family person, I used to miss my kids the most. Within a couple of months, I relocated my family as well. In my case, I chose latter. But, soon after, I realized that in spite of making that choice, I was not happy. When happiness eludes you, you are unable to put your heart and soul into what you are doing. There were various other things, which I liked to do, like making Skill Building audio-visuals, building strategies and conducting competency development interventions and I started focusing my attention on those competencies, instead of holding a grudge about the choice I had made. This helped me grow, as an individual, both personally as well as professionally. Just to reiterate, I started being happy, which made me become successful.

Choices in Life

Life always offers us choices, and we select, what we think and feel is right. Therefore, it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making our choices and once the choice is made, it should be our earnest endeavor to stick with them. It’s important to find ways to keep yourself happy. In the movie, 3 Idiots, the same thought has been epitomized. Being successful is important, but that will follow, if you are happy in what you are doing. 


You can always find things, in everything that you do, to be happy. It should be your search to find those 2 or 3 things, which make you happy about anything that you do. Believe me, success will follow.

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