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I was struck by the article below from marketing guru, Robert Middleton, who recently had to evacuate his home, fleeing the fires in California. In it, he addresses the question: Are we happy because we are successful or are we successful because we are happy?

During this time of COVID, it is clear that people are stressed by the changes in the way we all live and work. One way we know this is by using a patented Stress Quotient Assessment, which measures the level of stress that a person is feeling at a moment in time. These insights help us and our clients understand their level of stress, what is causing it, and the potential impacts.

One of the things that causes stress is fearing that we won’t be successful… and all this “stuff” we are dealing with can make us unhappy. Robert gets it right when he states “it is what it is.” That we can find peace in our lives by accepting the things we cannot change, and understanding that happiness doesn’t come from our success but, rather, from being ok with where we are at this moment in time. Success also comes to us when we can clearly define our accomplishments and when we believe that our work has had a positive impact on others.

Read Robert’s article below (and thanks to my friend Jerry Houston at HPISolutions for alerting me to it):


Success or Happiness? By Robert Middleton

September 14, 2020

For a very long time I believed that if I was successful I would be happy. Or at least happier. So, I got very good at being successful. Until I burned out. I was successful and unhappy. But I bought into the myth: Success will make you happy! What unmitigated crap!

Success is relatively easy: Intend what you want and work hard. But happiness is more elusive. How do you be happy if it has nothing to do with success? Then somebody told me the secret: Happiness is a matter of accepting what is. But our habitual addiction to having what is not (success) seems to get in the way. How hard is it to say, “What is happening now, what I have right now, is perfect as it is.” Try it. Harder than it seems, right? And I think it’s because that kind of thinking seems to negate striving for success. If I accept what is as it is, why would I want to work to succeed?

Well, why not have both? Success and happiness. Just don’t get confused that one leads to the other. Set intentions and work hard. Sometimes you’ll see success from your efforts, sometimes not. Then accept whatever happens. Be OK with whatever happens. Be happy with whatever happens. The results I get don’t need to determine my happiness.

Be successful. Be happy. But don’t confuse the two.

Cheers, Robert