Aside from the element of luck, which tends to be overlooked by many that are far too full of themselves, there is strong evidence that cultivating certain habits can, at a minimum, increase the opportunity for “luck” and subsequent well-being.
First and foremost is the need to switch to the term “well-being” instead of “success.” Success is too often attributed to financial status or popularity. I would ask you – how many stories have you heard of miserable wealthy people? How many wealthy and popular people have you heard of meeting an early demise because their wealth and popularity could not cure their lack of well-being?
There is no denying that financial stability has many benefits for well-being. Still, I posit that establishing a foundation of well-being can be a driver of financial stability rather than the reverse.
Success & Well-Being Defined
Merriam-Webster defines them as follows:
- degree or measure of succeeding
- favorable or desired outcome
- also: the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
- the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous
I believe we often strive for success when in reality, we want well-being. Quite honestly, I see many pursuing success at the expense of their well-being. They are experiencing opportunity costs in that pursuit, burning their most precious asset of time in pursuit of societal-driven goals instead of JOY and Well-Being.
Trust me, I in no way claim to be immune to this “trapping of success.” I am a self-admitted workaholic who mostly writes this to myself as I look to the new year and the best use of my time to increase my Well-Being.
I will pat myself on the back a little because, thanks to the wisdom of time and experience, I have not fallen into the trap of admiring the beautiful, rich, and “successful.” I don’t judge or compare my life with those of the popular. I have often called myself “the worst fan ever” because even if I enjoy the music, the performance, or the creations of others, I would never put them on a pedestal as an example to live by. I can honestly say I have never met or known of anyone I would trade places with. Primarily because I know we don’t have the full picture. We only see the surface. We don’t see their struggles, their challenges, their hardships.
Numerous studies seem to confirm that the rise of the internet and, more impactfully, Social Media is increasing this focus on “Success” rather than Well-Being and increasing depression and anxiety among the heaviest users of those applications. The “curated” and “sanitized” nature of these platforms falsely creates a profile of “perfect” lives that the users then judge their own lives against in a constant “upward social comparison,” inducing a feeling of not “stacking up.” A feeling of failure and subsequent depression. This applies not only to the media figures on these platforms. It can simply be the sanitized view of friends, family, and colleagues. None of it is the full picture.
I’ll admit I probably swing the pendulum too far in the other direction, completely discounting the Youtuber, Gamer, and Tik Tok star, not giving them credit for the work they put in to gain their following and subsequent “success” mostly because they don’t speak to me. I have to remind myself that it’s my bias speaking, and although it appears to be nothing but fads and a lot of luck driving their success, some level of work was put in to reach their status. The balance is appreciating their creations while never putting them on a pedestal and judging our own lives against theirs because whichever way your pendulum swings is based on an incomplete story.
“Compete with your current self to become your future self.”
I have always rooted for the underdog. I admire and have far more respect for the person putting in the work, even if societal definitions would not call them successful…..yet. The twenty-something trying to find their path amongst all these false stories of success. The fifty-something battling depression but not accepting it – looking for insights and tools every day to find Well-Being. I hope this post finds each and every one of them, hopefully providing some small nugget they can use in their pursuits. We all struggle in one way or another.
“Pushing through these struggles and overcoming the challenges is living, everything else is just surviving.”
As I drafted this post, I quickly realized that it was not just one post. It needs to be a series broken down into multiple topics. It aligns well with the upcoming New Year when many realign our priorities and goals. I want to shift those goals to JOYs. Let’s kick this off by renaming the headline to replace “Successful” with “Well-Being.” As I break each item down into a separate post, I will link them back to this initial post. You will find the “Coming Soon” buttons below changed to “Learn More” and linked to those separate posts as they are completed. Let’s get started!
The Last List of “Habits for Well-Being” You Will Ever Need
Why is this the last list you will ever have to read?
If you Google “Habits of Successful People,” you’ll get over 248 Million results. I have read them all for you. OK, not really. But I have perused many of them and read the first 100 from top to bottom, provided they weren’t full of annoying ads and pop-ups. Those are immediately closed.
I know 100 out of 248 Million doesn’t sound like a valid sample size. I would agree if this were a political poll or medical trial. Still, I am pretty confident that if you could read the remaining results, you would only find the same tips and tricks in a different order or potentially different verbiage. They are all saying the same d@mn thing!
You can find lists of anywhere from 7 to 50 (or even higher in a few cases) habits in these search results. I have aggregated them to the top 9. Why 9? Well, 50 is far too many. No one has the patience to focus on 50 habits. I also have a strange affinity for the number 3 and multiples of 3. There is no silver bullet. Well-being will be a lifelong pursuit that continuously grows as you embrace these nine habits and utilize whichever of the many tools within each one that speaks to you the most. Just as all these lists are saying the same thing in different ways – we can each improve our well-being in the different ways that suit us best while still being the same d@mn thing!
You can find these nine and everything that could be grouped beneath them espoused throughout history, as far back as the Stoics in 300 B.C.E. and most likely further.
As we near the start of 2023, I hope you will join me in looking for ways to add or improve these nine habits to drive well-being and JOY in your life.
Even if you have come across this long after the start of the new year – please know that “Every day is New Year’s Day,” and you can start your new journey right NOW.
Happy New Year!