Can people be happy if they are not successful?

Why is it?

Every six months or so, the question of this hub is asked. "Can people be happy if they are not successful?"

The question may not be asked using the same words but it is asked. I have personally answered two already and this is the third. The requirements of each answer are different and I have needed to take a different approach but the basic theme is always the same -

Success v Happiness 

Success is generally measured in monetary terms
Success is generally measured in monetary terms

The Literal definition of Success


Wikipedia states that Success may mean -

  • a level of social status   -   Social status, the position or rank of a person or group within the society, can be determined two  ways. -   We can earn their social status by our own achievements, or we can inherit our status and be taught the social graces befitting that status
  • achievement of an objective/goal  -  goal or objective is a projected state of affairs that a person or a system plans or intends to achieve - Many people endeavor to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines.
  • the opposite of failure  -  The criteria for failure are heavily dependent on context of use, and may be relative to a particular observer or belief system. A situation considered to be a failure by one might be considered a success by another, particularly in cases of direct competition or a zero-sum game. Similarly, the degree of success or failure in a situation may be differently viewed by distinct observers or participants, such that a situation that one considers to be a failure, another might consider to be a success,
  • the succession of successfully executed tasks and successes.

Anyone who has read these definitions from Wikipedia regarding success should think again as to whether or not they are successful in their own right.  

OK, so you might not have a high powered job with a massive income, but you make ends meet. Right?

You might not have been born with a silver spoon in your mouth, but, you can hold your head up with the best of them.

Mrs. Jones down your road has just bought a spanking new car and can afford the hire purchase repayments, and you can't afford to buy one. Shame, but your car is bought and paid for and gets you from A to B.

Every person in the world is a success. A success in their own right !  Think about it, Make a list of all the things that you have achieved and all the things that you know. It might sound silly but I'll bet a pound to a penny that you know and have achieved more than you give yourself credit for.

The smiley face is universally recognized as a sign for happiness
The smiley face is universally recognized as a sign for happiness

SO .. Can we be happy? and not be successful.

The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire was developed by psychologists Michael Argyle and Peter Hills at Oxford University.

TAKE .. 'The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire'

Have you made a list of your successes and achievements?

  • YES
  • NO
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Have you taken the'Oxford Happiness Questionnaire'

  • YES
  • NO
See results without voting

Can a person be Happy, and not Successful?

  • YES
  • NO
  • I had never thought of happiness v success in this way before
See results without voting

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Comments 17 comments

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Hi Hawkesdream,

This is a tricky one. However I do suppose it depends on what the varying degrees of successes are.

I may not have a job that is way up that social ladder or have pots of money but I have been successful .

I have gained what I always wanted, and I am happy from within.

This is a great hub which gives plenty of food for thought and I rate up plus vote in your poll..

Take care

Eiddwen.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 5 years ago from India

It's all a matter of perception,isn't it? :)


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

I think it purely depends on the very individual. Most of the people aren't happy if they are not successful but they are people who are totally happy without success. I think it has something to do with being envy or not.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 5 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

In order to be happy one must be totally successful and satisfied with their life, educational, and career choices. Achievement of all of those things equal happiness.

If one is in a job that he/she hates, one cannot be totally happy. There will always be an internal yearning and hunger. Total happiness = totally fulfilling career, education, money, and life lived on one's own terms.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

Hi, Hawksdream - wow, I haven't seen you around here for some time! Success, I guess is measured by how much we have achieved? Seems like a subjective term, meaning different things for different people. If you achieve a goal, that is success. It may be a small goal, but achievement can mean so much.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 4 years ago from Cornwall Author

You are so right, Dolores. My grandson has just learned to ride a two wheeled bike, his face was a picture. So proud of his achievement and success!!


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

I agree with you - people are successful, and just don't realize it. They are comparing themselves against the wrong benchmarks. But if you think about it, it is the people who are unhappy by nature who will always look at the negative side and not notice their success. So, in that way, yes unhappiness and lack of success go together. I don't think lack of success causes unhappiness - for me, it gives me the motivation to keep trying.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Great article - unique and insightful!

Yes, I think it's important to be financially successful in this world. Call me shallow, but I think money is necessary in order to have a good life. However, I do not believe that a person needs to be making 7 figures in order to be successful, but at least 6 figures or so is necessary.

Thanks and God Bless

John


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

A question that we need to ponder upon from time to time. Our definition of success does matter. With a lot of contentment and gratitude, happiness follows! :D Thumbs up for this hub.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 4 years ago from Cornwall Author

Millionaire tips, it is true that negative people focus on the wrong things. Thanks for reading.

John Sarkis, the thing is, although I agree money is inportant, but not overly necessary to be happy.

ripplemaker, Hi .. contentment I am sure equals happiness indeed.


webbience 4 years ago

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Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 4 years ago from Cornwall Author

Thank you webbience for returning


Kieran 4 years ago

Hello Hawkesdream, I'm going to share a fable with you by the famous French poet Jean de Lafontaine which I believe relates to your article.

I believe it actually corellates with the Budhist philosphy of material possessions tying us down. Anyway hope that you get something out of it :)

5. The Wolf and the Dog [5]

A prowling wolf, whose shaggy skin

(So strict the watch of dogs had been)

Hid little but his bones,

Once met a mastiff dog astray.

A prouder, fatter, sleeker Tray,

No human mortal owns.

Sir Wolf in famished plight,

Would fain have made a ration

On his fat relation;

But then he first must fight;

And well the dog seemed able

To save from wolfish table

His carcass snug and tight.

So, then, in civil conversation

The wolf expressed his admiration

Of Tray's fine case. Said Tray, politely,

"Yourself, good sir, may be as sightly;

Quit but the woods, advised by me.

For all your fellows here, I see,

Are shabby wretches, lean and gaunt,

Belike to die of haggard want.

With such a pack, of course it follows,

One fights for every bit he swallows.

Come, then, with me, and share

On equal terms our princely fare."

"But what with you

Has one to do?"

Inquires the wolf. "Light work indeed,"

Replies the dog; "you only need

To bark a little now and then,

To chase off duns and beggar men,

To fawn on friends that come or go forth,

Your master please, and so forth;

For which you have to eat

All sorts of well-cooked meat—

Cold pullets, pigeons, savoury messes—

Besides unnumbered fond caresses."

The wolf, by force of appetite,

Accepts the terms outright,

Tears glistening in his eyes.

But faring on, he spies

A galled spot on the mastiff's neck.

"What's that?" he cries. "O, nothing but a speck."

"A speck?" "Ay, ay; It's not enough to pain me;

Perhaps the collar's mark by which they chain me."

"Chain! chain you! What! run you not, then,

Just where you please, and when?"

"Not always, sir; but what of that?"

"Enough for me, to spoil your fat!

It ought to be a precious price

Which could to servile chains entice;

For me, I'll shun them while I have wit."

So ran Sir Wolf, and runs yet.5. The Wolf and the Dog [5]

A prowling wolf, whose shaggy skin

(So strict the watch of dogs had been)

Hid little but his bones,

Once met a mastiff dog astray.

A prouder, fatter, sleeker Tray,

No human mortal owns.

Sir Wolf in famished plight,

Would fain have made a ration

On his fat relation;

But then he first must fight;

And well the dog seemed able

To save from wolfish table

His carcass snug and tight.

So, then, in civil conversation

The wolf expressed his admiration

Of Tray's fine case. Said Tray, politely,

"Yourself, good sir, may be as sightly;

Quit but the woods, advised by me.

For all your fellows here, I see,

Are shabby wretches, lean and gaunt,

Belike to die of haggard want.

With such a pack, of course it follows,

One fights for every bit he swallows.

Come, then, with me, and share

On equal terms our princely fare."

"But what with you

Has one to do?"

Inquires the wolf. "Light work indeed,"

Replies the dog; "you only need

To bark a little now and then,

To chase off duns and beggar men,

To fawn on friends that come or go forth,

Your master please, and so forth;

For which you have to eat

All sorts of well-cooked meat—

Cold pullets, pigeons, savoury messes—

Besides unnumbered fond caresses."

The wolf, by force of appetite,

Accepts the terms outright,

Tears glistening in his eyes.

But faring on, he spies

A galled spot on the mastiff's neck.

"What's that?" he cries. "O, nothing but a speck."

"A speck?" "Ay, ay; It's not enough to pain me;

Perhaps the collar's mark by which they chain me."

"Chain! chain you! What! run you not, then,

Just where you please, and when?"

"Not always, sir; but what of that?"

"Enough for me, to spoil your fat!

It ought to be a precious price

Which could to servile chains entice;

For me, I'll shun them while I have wit."

So ran Sir Wolf, and runs yet.


wayoftheplayer profile image

wayoftheplayer 4 years ago from Melbourne

I actually wrote the one above but I forgot to sign in! Anyway I believe that you are really onto something here so great work!

Kieran


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 4 years ago from Cornwall Author

Thank you Kieran, for reading and adding that wonderful fable. If you do not object I would like to(at some point) include it in the 'hub body' itself. It might well benefit others.


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 4 years ago from New York City

Happiness is like beauty to me, its in the eye of the beholder, and if you figured out how to maintain high energy at all times, if not its tough to rejuvenate pure happiness I think. I feel that its also associated to eating for most people, because those who tend to eat the worst foods all seem to appear depressed as ever, and those whom are eating better foods, and appear active in their lives are the most happy I do believe.

I think happiness is also a factors of ones environment as well as income since not all folks have the best places to live, nor ample healthy foods options. Awesome hub here, getting pinned and voted up, as well as shared across the web.


Hawkesdream profile image

Hawkesdream 4 years ago from Cornwall Author

Hi CloudExplorer, I had not considered the relativity of diet to happiness. You make a point that definitely gives food for thought (pardon the pun)

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