Success and satisfaction do not always come hand in hand
A very interesting research was conducted in the US between two groups, one having won a million-dollar lottery and the other having lost a limb in accidents.
Asked about their feelings, the first group showed immense joy and the other shared their extreme sorrow grappling with the challenges that ensued. After a year, the same question was asked to both groups and interestingly both showed the same degree of happiness despite the differences in their situations.
Often people don’t feel fulfilled and satisfied even after achieving a great degree of success because success is relative varying from person to person. Often successful people show signs of dissatisfaction with life because perhaps the real meaning of success evades them, or they lack the ability to “manage success”.
Success is a very renewable option. After achieving success at one juncture of life, one strives to move to another, to renew the sense of satisfaction he achieved earlier. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, as soon as one desire is satisfied, a new need to satisfy another desire emerges. As per this theory, a person will never be satisfied.
Many successful people or leaders experience a lack of satisfaction even after achieving their desired goals. They experience moments when they don’t feel satisfied and thoughts like “what is next”, “what should I do now”, “is it worth giving efforts pursuing the same thing”, and “am I only working for others” and so on plague their minds.
Unfortunately, the world that we live in only prepares one how to achieve success by developing skills and competencies, offering specialised courses and training, and on-job training and so on. But in the process what is downplayed is how to manage failure and risks in life with career, business and even relationships.
Even I am guilty of the same. One of my leadership mantras is to “Always get out of the comfort zone”, which, in other words, summarises that never be satisfied with your achievement and move on to set a bigger goal to achieve even bigger milestones. This way one may tend to burn out at some point and more importantly, one will never be satisfied and happy!
Very few know the art of managing happiness or success tending to forget that it is something that does not remain constant. Rather, it needs to be renewed with sincere efforts and motivation. Once we think we have reached a certain level of success, we don’t know what to do next.
Another common mistake we make is when we strive for success while looking at the rearview mirror. This is particularly risky in the digital era where things are changing too fast. Let’s focus more on satisfaction than success. And instead of running after success, let success run after us because of what we are, and not what others want us to be!
The author is a telecom and management expert.