Does success make you happy?
I spent most of my life being very goal-oriented. In fact, one of my internal “rules for life” was, “You can rest when all your work is done.”
When I get 5 clients… When I can carry 10 clients… When I build my team… When I earn $XXX, 000… That’s when I can relax. That’s when I’ve “made it.”
No matter how many times I’d surpass those goals, things felt the same. There was another hoop to jump through, another thing that, once achieved, would “change everything.”
I kept waiting for the signal that I’d “made it,” that I could stop worrying and start enjoying life!
That signal never came.
Somehow every level of success felt just as tenuous. I never felt “secure” no matter how much money was in the bank or how many clients I had signed.
Psychologists call it the hedonic treadmill – humans quickly adapt to new circumstances (like goal achievement, a promotion, or a new income level), and their happiness returns to very close to where they started.
In other words, if you were happy before you achieved your goal, you’ll be about that happy afterward. If you weren’t, then achieving the goal won’t make you happy.
If this is ringing any bells for you, take a look at this INC story featuring the story of several entrepreneurs like you. Arthur Brooks, Author of The Art of Happiness has some ideas about how you might adapt to be happier.
Or you can skip the research, take the weekend off, and spend it with your family. Make some plans to deepen relationships with people you care about and invest in a hobby – something that makes you happy even if you don’t achieve anything with it.