A few years ago, I sought to answer a simple, yet profound question:
What makes you happy and why?
It set me on a journey of self-discovery as I sifted through my childhood experiences, my family values, my education and my personality. I thought I found my answer.
What makes me happy?
I had zeroed in on “impact”. I found a common pattern emerge as I jotted down events that had made me happy. Every time I influenced a situation around me positively, I had felt satiated.
Being the school prefect boosted my ego, but leading my school team to debate and quiz wins was the bigger thrill. Mentoring and knowing I changed the course of people’s lives and careers was exhilarating. Shaping the product portfolio at a start-up almost got me on a high.
The pattern was obvious to me then. It was about making a difference. Success, I thought, was all about making an impact.
But then it struck me that in going through this exercise, I was equating success to happiness. In fact, I realised that impact was really a means to happiness. It all came a full circle as I concluded that contention and happiness were great measures for how successful I was in life. This consciousness, in turn, brought a refreshing framework to my thought process.
Happiness drove a firm sense of security and purpose for me. It also generated greater self-awareness. Knowing that I need to do the right thing for me—for who I am—helped me widen my horizon to see beyond impact.
As an example, I began to consciously practise compassion as it empowered me to do the right thing. I stayed away from people emanating negative energies if I could not help them let go of it. I watched out for discontent as a signal for stagnation and drove change.
In a sense, recognising the happiness paradigm and framing a mental model around it helped build a very positive cycle thrusting me towards greater success.
True meaning of happiness
As I wind my life tape forward, I see myself continuing my pursuit of happiness. When I get to a point where my happiness is innate, I would have accomplished it all.
Happiness, my one metric for success, is not a number. It is a state-of-mind that I strive for.
Some of you can argue this is utopian. Others—those for whom happiness is already innate—would consider this common sense.
At the end, I suppose the notion of success is subjective and is a reflection of who you are. Happiness is my one metric to success. What’s yours?
Vijay Nagarajan is the senior director of Wireless Connectivity Business at Broadcom. He is known as a hands-on general manager with experience running global teams and turning around large businesses. To learn more about emotional intelligence at organisational level, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Try This articles, click here.
Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com.