Are happiness and success really goals?

Whenever we sit to brainstorm article ideas, my boss asks one question: what are people aspiring to have? Or in other words, what do people lack right now? And that’s the essence of almost every lifestyle magazine, YouTube channel or social media page. Sharing their round-up of the latest in make-up, luxury vacations and fashion, we are informed of what we lack so we can somehow make up for it. After all, it is the need of the hour, or at least the next month — after which our aspirations will change again.

Move over millennial pink, fuschia is the hue to watch out for. Bid adieu to your matte lipstick collection as the beauty world reunites with its eternal companion: the lip gloss. As we constantly navigate between yesterday and today’s transient trends, we realize that nothing we have is ever going to be enough. We need more and we need it now, or at least that’s what we believe.

In similar fashion, ‘happiness’ and ‘success’ is an aspiration now. And I can’t help but wonder: When did we start lacking success and happiness from our daily lives in the first place?

Dictionary.com defines success as ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.’ And so, by definition, am I not successful every day as I accomplish my small aims?

Like the average person (dare I say), I like happiness. It seems to be an interesting concept; full of life and perhaps, for some, the ultimate goal. But when did it become a goal and not a state of being?

It feels as if one person defined happiness and success in tangible terms and since then, every self help guru assumed the task of making sure you receive these things.

But what if, just what if, I’m already happy, but not on your terms? While it is great that I can manifest a house, money, a partner and much more, what if I’m really okay taking my time with them? And what if I am already a success? I feel quite successful right now — but it doesn’t involve any of your conditions.

I have read multiple books on becoming happy and successful, neglecting the fact that I may already be in possession of those emotions. I was defining happiness and success based on what I read and heard. I was defining productivity based on what other people were doing. I was chasing these abstract concepts like they were tangible objects. And just like that, basic human tendencies became aspirational.

And here’s what I wonder: Was there a person who invented this concept? Was there someone who defined success?

The answer is no. We were simply told that we lack these things. What a bummer. ‘How to be happy’, a video said. ‘I am not happy?’ I wondered, and thus clicked on the video. ‘You have to believe you are happy, you have to journal, tell yourself you are beautiful, tell yourself that you can do this’, the video asserted. ‘I have to?’ I questioned. And there commenced the downward spiral.

Of course, no one is happy all the time. Sometimes I am sad. I am cool with that. But then, sometimes I am happy. And it isn’t because I was lacking the emotion before; it is simply that my circumstances called for a different emotion.

Honestly, being happy is not a big deal just like being successful isn’t. Being confident and creating a life you like is a big deal. I have set my own definitions for happiness and success, and they don’t align with the popular opinion surrounding them. But hey, I’m okay with it. In fact, I’m happy with that!

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Alinda Gupta

Alinda Gupta

Hi, I am a features writer. Along with the pursuit of puns and poems, I like to fill my days with music, books, food and good conversation.