Saturday, September 17, 2011


                                                  HAPPINESS AND SUCCESS

Success is to get what you want. Happiness is to want what you get. Dale Carnegie

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. Albert Schweitzer

How do you feel about these statements? I think Carnegie is actually quite accurate. However, is it really so simple? Or is there more to it? Think about it.

Albert Schweitzer’s saying on the other hand is debateable. In my work I have met many people who really enjoyed what they were doing and could not wish for anything that suited them more. But they were not successful and struggled to make ends meet. However, some of them were quite happy even though they were not successful; others said that they needed the ever elusive success to be happy. Schweitzer suggests that in order to be successful one needs to be happy. Wrong again; I have met numerous individuals who were very successful in many facets of their life, but they were desperately unhappy for a variety of reasons.

Schweitzer simplifies the happiness – success correlation, and it is not that simple. Surely there is a correlation between happiness and success. But before we go into it, let us first look at the following five reasons most happy individuals gave as their source of happiness.  

Meaningful romantic relationship / Excellent family life

Successful social life


Financial security

Purposeful work or activity

Typically happy individuals enjoy a very active and successful social life. They have warm and close relationships with friends, acquaintances and family members, and very often they are in a satisfying love relationship.

Happy people seem to be more successful at work or in their business. Typically they have higher income, higher social and occupational status, and they have the skilful and competent personality that allows them to achieve their goals easily.

Happy people are full of energy and vitality, full of life and enthusiasm for life, and they tend to live longer and healthier lives.

Therefore, yes there is a correlation between happiness and success, which may lead us to believe that happiness is a prerequisite for success. However, it is not a prerequisite, but only greatly assists in your pursuit of success.

This, of course, leads to the conclusion that also unhappy people can become successful. They may find it somewhat more difficult than a happy person, but they can do it. The added benefit could be that this success will lead them to happiness. I saw it happen, and have indeed guided many people to both success and subsequent happiness.


I always say that there are three groups of people: those who make things happen, those who let things happen, and thirdly the group that wonders what’s happening. To turn unhappy and unsuccessful people into happy and successful ones, they need to belong to the first group. They need to set goals, and they need to be self-confident, certain in their belief that they can achieve their goals and that they can make ‘it’ happen.

Typically unhappy and unsuccessful persons are incapable of setting goals; well, they may be able to set them, but they cannot achieve them. They are also not confident and lack belief in themselves. Typically they have developed a negative outlook on life, they are pessimists, and they have not found meaning, importance and significance in their life. This needs to be changed.

They need to change the way they think in order to change their life.

This is easier said than done; but it is doable.

The most important requirement to change the way you think is your self-confidence. As I said above, self-confidence is the key to your self-belief and that you can make things happen. Once you have boosted your confidence to the utmost limit, things are going to get much easier.

 The second step is to change your thinking habits. Research shows that usually we think an average of 60’000 to 80’000 independent thoughts every day. This seems to be quite a large number, but you will be quite disappointed to hear that most of these thoughts you have thought already yesterday and every day before yesterday, and most certainly will think again tomorrow and every day thereafter. All of a sudden the large number of 60’000 to 80’000 is no longer so significant. The way you think guides your actions; because of your constantly repeated pattern of thoughts your actions become quite predictable. Unfortunately this is a great recipe for getting stuck in a rut, repeating your actions and reactions over and over again and not moving on to greater and better things.

 You want to think creatively. You want to increase your capacity of programmed thinking as well as lateral thinking. Programmed thinking relies on logical and structured ways to create new products, or new services. Lateral thinking recognizes that our brains are pattern recognition systems. Unfortunately we get stuck in our patterns; we tend to think within them.  Solutions to problems, new strategies are based on previous solutions, previous strategies. It does not occur to us to find solutions that belong to different patterns.

We use lateral thinking techniques to break out of this patterned way of thinking. And we will find brilliant, startling and original solutions to problems and we learn to see opportunities. Lateral thinking can generate completely new concepts and ideas, or brilliant improvements to existing systems.

Logical, disciplined thinking comes into it to make the new ideas or concepts work.

 Often the only difference between creative and uncreative people is self-perception. If you see yourself as being creative you give yourself the freedom to create. If you see yourself as being an uncreative person, you don’t even think about creativity, and you don’t give yourself the opportunity to create something new.

Once you think creatively you will find it quite easy to change the meaning of experiences you have or of the events in your life. Whereas before a negative experience or event was an obstacle for you and you reacted with pessimism, you can now change the meaning of this experience or event and turn it into a challenge, an opportunity with a positive outcome.

 There is no question in my mind that these new ways of thinking can and will greatly contribute to your success. They can and will also greatly contribute to your potential for happiness.

Copyright 2011 Udo Stadtsbcuhler