SURPRISE! Happiness and The Old-Fashioned Concept of GENUINE Success Are Intertwined

I’ve often commented on the secret to business success, i.e., having the proper purpose: meeting the needs, wants and expectations of customers at a surplus sufficient to support the ongoing financial needs of the business and its employees and suppliers. Businesses that do that with proper focus and passion will most certainly achieve success.

But what about individuals? People? What is the secret to their success? I think success is earned – is achieved – by meeting the needs, wants and expectations of others – family, friends, acquaintances, households, communities, churches, businesses, etc.

What about individual happiness? I’ve been taught that’s achieved by EARNED success. Professor Arthur C. Brooks of Syracuse University studied the causes of human satisfaction in life. He argued that the primary economic factor that makes people happy is not money but what he called “earned success”; that is, having a specific responsibility and doing good work in fulfilling that responsibility.

He explains:

Earned success means the ability to create value honestly – not by winning the lottery, not by inheriting a fortune, not by picking up a welfare check. It doesn’t even mean making money itself. Earned success is the creation of value in our lives or in the lives of others.

So it seems that success and happiness are intertwined – are achieved the same way – by making steady, wholesome progress toward worthwhile ideals and goals – by meeting the needs, wants and expectations of others and oneself in sync with the laws of economics.

It brings to mind what college football legend Coach Lou Holtz says: Do what is right; do the best you can; and treat others like you’d like to be treated.

Later on, he says: Know what you’re trying to do. Set goals. (He had 108 goals – one of which was to coach at the University of Notre Dame.)

He says if you’re not growing you’re declining. His greatest regret, in retrospect, was just trying to maintain Notre Dame at the top. He should have set new stretch goals.

In God we must trust . . . but we must always do our part to earn success – to secure and promote the truth and a better way – to protect our freedom and interests – and to defend the Judeo-Christian American-Way.

photo credit: Neil. Moralee Just Exquisite. via photopin (license)

Share if you agree that a person’s genuine, earned success will contribute to his level of happiness.

About the author: William Pauwels

William A. Pauwels, Sr. was born in Jackson Michigan to a Belgian, immigrant, entrepreneurial family. Bill is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served in executive and/or leadership positions at Thomson Industries, Inc., Dow Corning, Loctite and Sherwin-Williams. He is currently CIO of Pauwels Private Investment Practice. He's been commenting on matters political/economic/philosophical since 1980.

View all articles by William Pauwels

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