Success Isn’t Happiness, But They’re The Same Skill

And you already know it isn’t “overthinking”


The happiest people and the most successful people aren’t always the same people — in fact, tons of people will argue up and down that they’re not, and frankly I’m not here to tell you otherwise.

But I will tell you that they come from the same thing. And to save you from scrolling the entire post to find it, I’ll just tell you. It’s:

Making externalized, expansive decisions from finite information.

And I know you’re probably thinking, “what the hell does that mean?”

And the short answer is: nothing, really.

Not on its own. Not in a standalone way like it’s sitting there. But you and I both know you wanted and needed it summarized like that, and you were gonna scroll the post looking for it, so there it is. If you want it broken down, read on.

What it means is:

  • The opposite of over-analysis and judgment
  • The opposite of wanting to pursue everything
  • The opposite of abstraction
  • The opposite of convention, or structure, or rules
  • The opposite of inaction

And you already know all of these — I know you do — so, you see, that first statement wasn’t that weird.

It was just stated in a new way, in a way that was different than: “set goals,” “build relationships,” “do what’s authentic,” or “do what’s logical” or “just do it.” (Side note: although that list might seem random, it wasn’t. The first four of the five are the only ways we make decisions — two of them internalized and deductive (what’s authentic and what’s logical) and the other two are externalized and expansive (goals and relationships.) These four are where the “happiness” and “success” party’s at. And the fifth, “just do it,” is just the ever-present partier here to get it started.)

Stop Reading Bullshit

Stop overthinking. Stop procrastinating. Stop thinking the answer is in all this garbage. And stop re-reading more garbage thinking the next garbage post is somehow going to hold the answer. It’s not.

If you feel like you’re fucking up in life, the answer is already in you. You just have to find it.

But I can help you narrow it down, because everything worthwhile is decided from only four standpoints:

  • What you want, what’s authentic, what reflects your values or feelings
  • What’s logical and accurate
  • What makes the greatest external impact on systems
  • What makes the greatest external impact on people

That’s the whole list. That’s how decisions are made. Nothing ever happens in “analysis” or “research” or “brainstorming” or “searching” or “thinking” except a never-ending game of “information-gathering” that goes on in perpetuity, because the “answer,” without one of the above decision-making functions, will literally out-run itself and never be found. By nature.

As you run more, you just push it farther ahead of you.

You have to actually decide. The solution is in choosing, not chasing. It’s in action, not insight, information, or ideas.

How?

Look, bud — I’m not you. I have no idea. But, like, shit — I narrowed it down to four avenues for you. Try re-reading the list and doing some legwork here, huh? One of those sings to you. Probably two of them do.

But here’s a hint:

One of them is probably jumping from the page and shouting at you like “pick me! I am the obvious winner here! I need to be chosen! I am the right one!”

That one is not the right one. I’ll tell you that right now. That one is the one you are hiding behind.

The right one for you is the one you skipped over because it seemed so obvious. It’s the one that’s quiet in the corner; the one you made eye contact with; the one you saw without seeing; the one you’ll come back to time and time again.

That’s the one.

Now start experimenting with it.

If you’re truly still not sure (and first of all, damn son, are you even trying?) — then shit, try all four! Lean into each one. Develop it. See how it feels. One of them will seem obvious — all of your true greatest joys will be there, and when you look back on the best times of your life, it will be that one above the others (and if you’re thinking “it was more than one!” then, like, congrats, bud. But let’s try to get it down to one or two.)

And really, if we’re honest, it was primarily one. The others will just be secondary, or seem “important,” or feel outright “unsustainable,” “unimportant,” or “uncomfortable.” And then you’ll know for sure.

As Janine Laddaran wrote,

“Once you accept yourself… you become a much braver person. Failure is an integral part of our lives because once you have experienced it; you will be open to other opportunities, a wider perspective in life. Ultimately, happiness is all up to our efforts as well: how we view the things happening around us, and how we react to them.”

Make decisions and you’ll get whatever you want — happiness, success, and anything in between.

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