Redefining Success.

Three questions you need to ask yourself for a happier life.

I grew up knowing everything I needed to have to be happy, never asking what I needed to do to be happy.

So on I went to University, studying medicine, getting a ‘good’ job, getting paid a lot of money. I had life figured out.

Question #1:

“What do I need to have to be happy?”

I came up with a list of things that were important to me. Yours might be completely different and that’s great. Mine goes like this:

  • Great home
  • Perfect car
  • A good job and a meaningful way to spend my day
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Travelling Norway with our ‘Carl’.

“Life is suffering” — Not Buddha

Often misquoted to be by Buddha this quote has probably crossed your path somewhere before.

Life is keeping your hands on the steering wheel, directing it where to go. The moment you let go, you give up control and lose track.

It’s the same thing with relationships. You don’t wake up one day and all of a sudden you magically have the perfect, everlasting relationship.

Question #2:

“What do I need to DO to be happy?”

And this is the much tougher question. If life was that easy, why would people ask themselves this age-old question over and over again? Even in ancient Greece people asked themselves what made a good life. Aristotle came to the conclusion that the good life is a happy life.

What are the things I do that put me in a negative state of mind and how do I get rid of them?

And it became clear to me that my job was bringing me a net negativity in my life that I didn’t want anymore.

“If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid.” — Alan Watts (1915–1973)

Damn, I love that man.

Question #3:

So what can we learn from that now? We know that in order to be happy we need to have and do certain things. Have + Do = Be. What those are, varies from person to person. Some are happier with having less, some are happier with having more. The final question you need to ask yourself though is:

“Is what I want to have and do MY dream, or someone else’s?”

Many people want to own a house and that is completely fair. If you want to own a house with a big garden and you find value in taking care of those two things, then by all means: Go for it.

People buy shit they don’t need, with money they don’t have, to impress people they hate.

So if it’s your parents' dream that you become a lawyer, a doctor or *insert any other prestigious job here* and not your own, then you won’t find fulfillment in doing it. And if it’s your best friend's dream to own a house, ask yourself if it’s truly yours as well. So this last question is of vital importance.

Redefining success.

Meet Jack. Jack is 53 years old. He has spent his life climbing up the corporate ladder and is making tons of money. He has a huge home with 5 guest bedrooms and a garage full of sports cars.

Success is not how much you own, but how happy with your life you truly are.

We need to step away from thinking someone is successful because he/she owns a lot of nice things. They MIGHT be successful, but we can’t be sure if we don’t know how they feel.

We often fall for the illusion that society can define what success is. But by accepting society’s definition we often overlook that it’s not our own. In order to live a happy life we therefore need a definition of success that is in line with our own values. That’s the only way we can truly be successful.

Success is happiness. Happiness is success.

I used to be an anesthetist. Now I'm happy instead. Constantly pursuing the improvement of my life and the lives of the ones around me.

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