Roger Harty: The Difference Between Success And Happiness

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rsz_roger_hartySUCCESS: Is having what you want.

Happiness: Is wanting what you have.

Very often we hear in life ‘don’t take things literally’, but in this case, I think to get the full meaning and benefit of the above mentioned definitions, it is important to take every word literally as it was meant.

Moreover it is in the application of the above definitions that the real benefits accrue.

Every human being on this planet, if they are honest, is at one level or other searching for happiness but here lies the crux of the matter; searching for happiness is the antithesis of happiness. It is like trying to chase after a feather in a hurricane; you will never get there as you can never search for happiness, you can only be happy.

With this in mind let’s look at the above two sentences in more detail beginning with the former.

Success : Is having what you want.

This implies always wanting, which at some level, implies always searching, if one is to be successful.

There is a constant state of flux which in turn may result in a state of temporary satisfaction but deep down there remains an underlying feeling or unease.

It’s like climbing a mountain, looking at the view and wondering if the view may be prettier from the other mountain in the distance and perhaps you may even reflect that you climbed the wrong mountain in the first place.

More is constantly lurking in the background.

Let’s take a ridiculous example (bear in mind some people may not find my example that ridiculous!!).

Suppose I set my stall out and decide that my idea of success is owning a Lamborghini that can connect with an iPad 5.

I achieve this and everything is wonderful. One day I am walking down the road and a friend tells me that ‘Johnny’ down the street has a spanking new Lamborghini Mark 2 that can connect with an ipad 6 (the difference is Johnny’s can connect with live television in his car and my car is unable to do the same).

Initially I am courteous and delighted for Johnny, but if I am honest, at some level I am a little envious and am perhaps considering working a little harder and will upgrade my Lamborghini to the new model and then I will be successful. You get the picture.

At this stage, please bear in mind my definition of stress in a previous article here ‘stress is being here and trying to be there’ – a continuous state of flux, which in turn leads to unease which in turn leads to some form of psychological suffering!

Happiness : Is wanting what you have.

If you truly want what you have, then the natural law of reflection means that you have what you want and therefore you are in a constant state of ease instead of unease.

This in turn leads to stress-free living. Of course the reality of living in our world brings many ups and downs in our lives.

We cannot change what happens in our world, but we can always change how we react to what happens in our world. We always have a choice.

With awareness and practice, we can develop the wonderful skills of acceptance and resilience which in turn enable us to cope with all things that the world can throw at us on a daily basis.

In fact, these ‘difficulties can make us strong; ‘a stormy sea makes a good sailor’. Just look at last Sunday how the Kerry team grew in body and spirit in overcoming the mighty men of Donegal which in turn caused the largest turnout of a crowd ever to welcome them home on Denny Street.

Getting back to my point – if you want for nothing, then nothing will make you happy.

This is the point that the wise men of India (Saddhus) make when they go into the mountains and survive in a great state of happiness on a minimal existence.

It is also the point that Jesus Christ was making when he told us not to be trapped by the materialistic things of this world as they will not result in true happiness, only a temporary transient satisfaction.

True happiness comes from inner peace which is a state of mind and by nature does not involve searching; ‘being here and not trying to be there’.

The Buddha was once asked what is happiness?

His answer? ‘Freedom from suffering’.

In other words it is a state of mind that must be realised and cannot be found. When you remain still the feather will eventually land on your lap.

Next week I am going to write about meditation

• Roger Harty is a life coach and can be contacted on 087-6128336, on twitter at @Innerjoyz1 or by email 



One Comment

  1. Hi Roger

    I just had to write to say how much I enjoyed reading your articles today.
    I’m off work sick today & got great enjoyment & healing from reading your articles.
    Keep up the good work.