Many people strive to be successful believing that once they are, they’ll be happy. When, in fact, time and again, science has proven that you first need to be happy in order to be truly successful. The reality is, the type of success you want to achieve matters, too. Perceived success should not be your only goal, this alone will not bring you happiness. If you’re just after success to be rich and admired, then it’s likely you’ll never feel truly fulfilled. Whereas if you can create a life built on passionate foundations, doing the things that make your heart sing and jump for joy, then you won’t be on an endless search for happiness through material things and outside validation. Once you identify what you’re truly passionate about, it will be easy to focus, commit and put in the effort needed, giving it your all.
As Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it”. And who doesn’t want to live their dreams? Happiness and success go hand-in-hand when the achievements you strive for are meaningful and success is often the by-product, a bonus if you like!
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The old adage - do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life – rings true. In the video below, Rituals CEO and founder Raymond Cloosterman says, “everybody has a given set of talents and... If you get the maximum out of yourself, then success is an outcome”. Standford researchers carried out a study in 2018 and found that children at school don’t just like the subjects they’re good at, but when they feel positive about what they’re learning the activity in a region of the brain called the hippocampus (responsible for memory and learning) increases, so they do better in the subjects because their brains are actually working better. In fact, a vast review of many studies into happiness and success concluded that ‘happiness precedes important outcomes and indicators of thriving, including fulfilling and productive work, satisfying relationships, and superior mental and physical health and longevity’.
And yet, mental health is a huge reason why people take sick days at work, with a massive 70 million workdays lost each year, costing employers around £2.4 billion. The key to a happier work-life balance is pursuing your passions or, at least, striving to find the meaning in what you do each day.
Today, Rituals is a hugely successful company but it took time to build. “The first 10 years [we didn’t] see any turnover and after that, we saw traction and we were flying. Those first years we were as happy then as we are now,” Raymond tells Mo. “Then it was the camaraderie, the adventure and making little victories every day... those things we believed in are now paying off. People are buying into our philosophy and sharing that with their friends. It’s fulfilling to be able to have a dream and see people jump on that train.”
It’s clear to see that, for Raymond, building a brand that helps people celebrate the small moments in life, moments of happiness, is the driver that kept him and the company on the path to success. “Feeling that you are living your passion and that you are helping people [is important]. Money is not a driver for happiness, at least not for me,” says Raymond. “Friends make you happy and being able to do things that are close to your heart or things that matter, that’s where I find my happiness. In that sense, I’m not happier today than my early days at university when I had nothing but I had my friends and my small moments of happiness.”
If you want to carve out your own success, it's really is best built on passionate foundations. Thinking beyond being wealthy, ask yourself what achievements would make you feel like you’re winning at life, that you’re truly successful? Write these dreams down. Is it creating art that people can enjoy? Sharing your personal story to help others? Whatever your dreams of success are, list them out. How do you turn dreams into goals? Think about how you can navigate a path, an actionable plan to make those dreams of true and meaningful success a reality.
Want to achieve happiness to help you reach your full potential? Join the Rituals Happiness Challenge, with Mo Gawdat, former Chief Business Officer at Google [X] and author of Solve for Happy. It’s a 14-day interactive journey that will transform your life and help you find true, long-lasting happiness.