[JOY MANGANO] Money doesn’t change who you are. It reveals who you are when you no longer have to be nice.
– JOY (2015)
Why success doesn’t feel satisfying sometimes?
Success is not bad, “just don’t expect it to make you happy,” said Harvard Professor, Robert Waldinger.
Success does not always bring the happiness we expect. Achieving a goal or receiving an accolade may result in temporary satisfaction, but soon we return to our baseline level of happiness. The author of The Good Life reminds us that “The corner office just becomes the place you go and do your work after a while. The shine wears off.”
People tend to acclimate to the trappings of achievement swiftly, and the shine wears off. To find lasting happiness, we need to look beyond superficial accomplishments and focus on what fosters deep relationships and has a meaningful impact beyond our salary. To enjoy success, it is also important to be authentic and not mold our personas to fit the goal.
The Impostor Trap
The impostor trap is a phenomenon where individuals feel like they are not qualified or deserving of the success they have achieved, and fear that they will be exposed as frauds or impostors. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, and the belief that they do not belong in their current position or are not good enough to continue succeeding.
The impostor trap can be especially prevalent in high-achieving individuals who have achieved significant success or recognition in their field.
Professionals often fear they’ll be seen as a fake when they’re killing it. To reframe the discomfort as positive, it is essential to embrace authenticity and pursue goals that are aligned with our true selves.
The Good Life
What makes a life fulfilling and meaningful, then?
The World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness concludes that what makes a life fulfilling and meaningful are relationships. “The stronger our relationships, the more likely we are to live happy, satisfying, and overall healthier lives.”
The authors of The Good Life, Robert Waldinger M.D. and Marc Schulz Ph.D, have conducted a research which tracked the lives of 268 Harvard graduates for 75 years, from 1938 to the present day. The study also included 456 inner-city men from Boston who were selected as part of the study in the 1940s.
The study’s goal was to uncover the factors that contribute to happiness and success in life. The researchers conducted regular interviews, medical exams, and psychological tests to gather data on the participants’ lives. The study found that happiness and success in life are not solely dependent on factors such as wealth or social status, but rather on the quality of our relationships with others.
The study identified several key factors that contribute to happiness and success in life, including:
- Having supportive relationships, both romantic and platonic,
- Maintaining good physical and mental health,
- Engaging in meaningful work or hobbies, and
- Having a sense of purpose in life.
Research also found that individuals who were able to overcome adversity, such as difficult childhoods or traumatic experiences, and develop resilience tended to be happier and more successful in life. That’s true also for individuals who had a positive outlook on life, were optimistic, and had a sense of humor.