I have always wondered about the symbols of success, about our individual definitions of the word and our journey to its achievement. It has often been a topic of discussion with friends.
I wanted to take a stab at writing about success, but didn’t really know where to start. The rainbow and pot of gold theme gave me a few ideas.
For many of us, the pot of gold IS success. It represents wealth, the key to acquiring everything we want. Therefore, if I believe that success will bring me happiness and that wealth is ultimately success, then wealth/money should bring me happiness.
Let’s examine it closely: How happy or how much happier is a person after acquiring wealth or money?
Several studies of lottery winners in western countries show that although winners generally indicate a higher level of happiness immediately following the winning, their sense of well-being returns back to the previous state soon after. Therefore, if you were happy before, you will remain happy after, if you were unhappy, you will go back to being unhappy. What does this mean? Simple. Money doesn’t necessarily bring long-term happiness. The formula that brought contentment before the lottery winning still holds true after. Money doesn’t seem to alter the equation.
What if I worked hard to acquire wealth; I am sitting in my big house, driving my luxury car and I have enough money to send my kids to college. Will this be enough? Will I stop here? Will I be happy with these acquisitions or will I strive for more. If I decide to go for more, why do I do that? Didn’t my work already provide me with the success I was looking for? Will I go for more money or another form of wealth? Where will I look for happiness once I have acquired all the material things I wanted?
I think the answer is in our need to grow. We are born to learn and grow. Challenges offer us the opportunities and as ambitious individuals, wealth seekers will never stop seeking. We find happiness in always striving for more and achieving it, whether it is in the form of money or not. Success is not the the end product, not the destination, but the journey to find it. It is the rainbow, not the pot of gold.
Success, although often associated to wealth and money to some degree, is therefore also linked to the achievement factor. The path, the challenges, the ability to learn, to grow, to overcome adversity, to have fun on the adventure leading to wealth are ultimately the better indicators of success.
My conclusion: Success is happiness. It is possibly more of the rainbow itself than the pot of gold sitting at the end of it!