The Flavor of Success

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“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” 

-Truman Capote

Failure is something we all dislike, because there is nothing pleasant about attempting to do something, and not succeeding in that which we have wanted to achieve. Some people take a failure harder than others: they might see that failure as essential to their character, and thus, identify with it. However, there are people who look at a failure and realize that it’s just a set back. The fact that they didn’t succeed the first, second, third, or hundredth time doesn’t mean that they won’t ever succeed. All they have to do is keep looking for ways.

However, once success comes, it becomes that much better. You see, here it’s not just about the success itself, though this, too, is important. Of course it’s a great feeling to know you’ve achieved something thorough your own efforts. However, what’s even better than that is knowing that you didn’t give up. That no matter how many times you couldn’t succeed at something, you simply kept trying and trying, until it was done.

Being successful is great, because it gives you a sense of accomplishment. But when this sense of accomplishment is combined with the sense of perseverance, it becomes that much better.

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What Goes into Making You Happy?

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The most important thing in life for many…actually, for most people is to be happy. This is pretty self-explanatory, so I won’t go into a long explanation for the reason why. However, I will just say this: happiness is one of the things that make life worthwhile, so it is natural that we seek it.

In the post about Outliers, I mentioned that Gladwell presented having a meaningful job as a very important part of success. Yet, a meaningful job and its components are also important for overall happiness.

In this post I’ll try to unpack some of the other elements that go into happiness. I will leave genetics out of this article, however, because I prefer to concentrate on the things you can do to ensure that you’re going to be happy.

There was an entire article in Psychology Today devoted to unveiling happiness’ secrets, and you can read it by clicking here.

Embracing the Feeling of Uneasiness

The most fascinating idea in there was that people who are happy have a tendency to pursue activities and events that make them feel uncomfortable. In other words, they try to get out of their comfort-zones, and undergo experiences that make them feel somewhat uneasy.

But why? It feels so counter-intuitive at first sight that seeking out uncertainty and even a little bit of stress can turn out to award you with a feeling of blissfulness.

It seems that this whole mystery is simply connected to the fact that after you’ve undergone a new experience, you’re left with the feeling of accomplishment, which is what gives you happiness.

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Experiencing Things that Make You Feel Good

There are experiences that you know will put you in a good mood. Examples include watching a good movie, reading your favorite book, or enjoying a good conversation with someone.

Wouldn’t those be a better choice? Well, it seems that the answer is both yes and no. The magic lies in finding the right balance between the two types of experiences. Sadly, there’s no easy way that will reveal the right combination or ratio between them. You have to go out there and practice until you’ve found the right mix.

Being Grateful

Yeah, yeah, you’ve probably heard this before. Well guess what? It actually works! Studies have shown that individuals who take the time every day to think (or write down) the things they’re grateful for, tend to be happier. (Click here to read more about those studies).

This makes sense, because thinking of the good things in your life helps you appreciate them more. Plus, you’ve got the added benefit of having some moments in which you will put your negative thoughts aside, and replace them with happy, pleasant ones.

Investing in Others

This goes for both time and money. Meaningful relationships are crucial to us as humans, because we are designed to be social beings. We thrive when we’re around others; though those “others” must be people we actually like.

As for spending money, there’s research that shows that people who spent money on someone else were happier after than people who spent money on themselves. Click here to read more about this topic.

Relaxing

This is important for your well-being, but also for your happiness. When you relax, you push away the negative thoughts that are eating away at your mind.

Livin’ the Moment

There are so many benefits you can get from appreciating the moment you’re in. You’ll worry less, because worries come with thinking about the future, and you’re going to feel regret less, because regret usually appears when thinking of the past.

If you’d like to read more about this, click here to be taken to a post I made about enjoying the present.

To wrap up, I want to mention that above everything, happiness is something that is different for everybody. Each one of us may have their own list of things that make them happy, and I’d love to hear what are some of the items in that list for you! 🙂