What is the key to success?


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Mad Men is my favorite show. In one of his most memorable lines, Don Draper says:

"What is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness."

Don was referring to consumerism, a kind of cheap "happiness" that is fleeting. Yes, you may be happy for a few days after you buy a new car, but what happens when the high of a new toy wears off? To me, true happiness is not the result of objects or accolades you obtain; rather, true happiness is manufactured inside of you.

True happiness is ever-present. It's an outlook on life, a worldview, and a mindset. It persists longer than a day after you return home from vacation, or the time it takes to eat a cupcake. True happiness is a part of your being.

Happiness & Success

I don't think it's a stretch to believe that happiness and success are closely linked. I used to think, "when I get my work into stores, I'll feel like a success," or, "when I'm featured in that book, I'll feel like a success."

But you know what happens? Instead of feeling successful, I'd just be imagining the next level of "success". It became something that could never be held onto, something I could never truly possess.

That's when I realized just how vital true happiness is to the feeling of success:



In order to feel successful, I must feel happy in the life I am creating for myself. I can find true happiness in the process of creation - and just living my life - more than I ever will in obtaining X-number of sales or being interviewed in my favorite magazine.

Real, Sustainable Success

You've heard it a bazillion times, but that's for a reason: it's about the journey, not the destination. Real, sustainable success is something that you develop along the way. If I can love what I do (most of the time), and find pure joy in my own work, then that is the start of a successful life. That is a feeling of success that grew inside of me - outside the influence of anything else and anyone else.

How about you? Have you reached a moment in life when you thought, "Ah, this is what success feels like."? Or, is this a subject you're still trying to figure out for yourself? How do you define success?


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4 comments :

  1. I have come to a realization that I have never been happier in my life than I have been lately. The kids that I work with at my dance studio have been so awesome and hard working which obviously has made me so happy to go to work every day and in turn has led to more success than we have ever seen! So to me, happiness is very much related to success in the sense that you will never truly feel success unless you first find happiness. Thanks so much for the food for thought this morning :)

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    1. That is awesome, BreAnna! That has to be an amazing feeling - making a visible difference in someone's life like that, especially children. Congrats to you!

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  2. Hi Ashley~
    I love your quote in pink, so true. You can chase success and happiness your whole life, but if you don't find joy in the process- chances are you won't find it in the "end". Life IS the process, so might as well enjoy it.
    xo Desha

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    1. Exactly! As I'm getting older, I'm finding it has a lot to do with being present in the moment as well - loving what you're doing right now, and not just looking forward to what you're doing later.

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