Beware the Flawed Formula for Success

You most likely think this; “If I suffer and work hard today I will be more successful and when I am more successful only then I will be happy or happier.”

Few examples of such mentality;

  • Students – I must lock myself in my room and sacrifice social life for future gain and happiness.
  • Employees –  I must drag myself out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, and go to work hoping that today will be the day I get promoted.
  • Youth – If I just force myself to the gym and loose 10 pounds, then ill be successful and happy.
  • Entrepreneurs – I must socially isolate myself for the future success of my company. (stereotypical entrepreneur)

However, that conventional wisdom is flawed and its not your fault nor mine.

This is why.

Our thinking has been shaped by:


1. The Negative Media

It’s always about negative stuff because it sells – bad people, murder, drugs, gangs etc. It has tricked us into thinking that life is always a struggle, unless you are successful.

2. Misleading Motivational Content

Most of the online motivational content is filled with quotes, videos and stories of stuff like “No pain. No gain.”, “Life is a pain, so work hard!”, “Struggle today for success tomorrow!” etc.Such content has tricked us into viewing the route to success as a painful chore.

3. “Happily ever After” Stories

Be very cautious of the success stories you read. Recall back to Grade 10 English, climax is part of a good plot. When people write their own stories, they overemphasize their struggle to build up the climax.


These three factors have tricked us into thinking that the route to success is an unpleasant struggle and only the destination holds the fruits of our labor.

However, the reality is that “Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. Happiness is not just the mood, it’s a work ethic. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work.” –Shawn Achor

For example, lets say you love visiting new places but dread the process of traveling. In this example your route is traveling and your destination is China.

Since you don’t like the route to your destination, you will go to the airport find a lonely seat, stuff your earplugs in and wait for your flight arrival. During the flight, you will do the same.

Yes, you still got to your destination but you missed out on all other experiences that the route offers – such as meeting new people, making some local friends, observing the culture, or even just showing appreciation for that friendly waitress.

Key Takeaways


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