I was recently invited by my friend JP De Villiers to speak about happiness and success, and I’m sure you’re all thinking the same thing. As an extremely wealthy, accomplished businessman, you probably assume I’m going to ramble on about the importance of money, and how a large bank account is the only way to achieve true success. But you’re wrong, I don’t believe that for a second.
As I will go on to discuss, success is only achievable if you are HAPPY! Why? Because if you’re not, nothing will EVER be good enough and nothing will bring you true joy.
Success is subjective
Over the years, I have encountered more unhappy millionaires & billionaires than I have happy ones – that is the truth.
Growing up, most people strive to be filthy rich, drive expensive cars and go on lavish holidays and don’t get me wrong, all of those things are great. But is that really the goalpost you went to set if you’re unhappy in most other areas of your life?
A lot of people in life do, and will always define success and wealth as one and the same thing, and that is okay. But for others, success is raising a family, graduating from university or just being a good person, and all of those aspirations are viable too.
The point is, success is subjective. It has a different meaning for everyone. And every person will have to go on a unique journey to find it.
My only advice to you is, to make sure that your idea of success is something that will make you happy. Otherwise, what’s the fucking point?
“It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than at the top of the one you don’t“– Stephen Kellog
Always have a goal
As humans, we are biologically programmed to need mental stimulation, to overcome
challenges and to always push forward. Without it, we’re just floating through life with no real purpose or sense of accomplishment. We’re just ‘existing’, not living.
Science has proven that setting goals improve performance, self-worth and mental health. It has been shown that those who set goals are significantly happier.
This is because people with goals are constantly working to improve themselves and their lives, and will do just that in the process.
I know that from experience, most goals are reachable if you REALLY want them. But what I will say is, the journey is often more rewarding than the end goal. Working hard makes us feel good.
Accomplishing things makes us feel good. Being handed everything on a plate doesn’t.
Ultimately, setting goals isn’t just a social trend, it’s what drives us. It gives us something to fight for.
Don’t stress the small stuff
Following on from my last point, setting big goals does more than give us purpose, it puts into perspective how minuscule most stresses in life are.
When you’re focusing on something huge and life-changing, your focus is on that, not how pissed off you are with service in a restaurant or the fact you spilt wine on your favourite jacket.
The truth is, I have very few stresses in my life, or at least that’s the way I see it. A lot of people reading this with a steady, 9-5 career may wonder how I cope with constant travel, juggling multiple companies, raising my daughter, writing a blog and everything else that comes along with life.
Honestly, I just don’t have the time to flap over minor inconveniences.
Always working towards something has benefited my life in ways I’d never even considered. Being so focused on succeeding has inadvertently raised my stress threshold and increased my happiness.
I’m not saying my life is entirely stress-free, but remaining focused on my goals makes anything short of death or bankruptcy inconsequential – and I’m glad.
– John DePaola
“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you“
Surround yourself with people who bring value to your life
If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I have an incredible group of friends. Not acquaintances, but real friends who bring value to my life.
Over the years I’ve met hundreds, if not thousands of people throughout my career. Many that could have made me a lot of money if I’d decided to make a deal with them.
But I didn’t.
Why? Because we didn’t get on, and no amount of money is worth sacrificing a second of my time for people I don’t enjoy being around.
I quickly realised at the beginning of my career that building meaningful bonds and friendships was more beneficial to my success than mere strategy. I found that a mutual liking for one another helped build trust, resulted in better deals and lead to future partnerships.
To put it simply, surrounding myself with people I liked helped my career AND brought me happiness, and still does to this day.
If someone in your life isn’t fulfilling a purpose, causes stress or makes your life less enjoyable in any way, shape or form, don’t be polite. Don’t tiptoe around their feelings. Remove them from your life.
Holding on to toxic people has a knock-on effect and whether you realise it or not, it’ll impact other areas in your life. You can’t control or change how people are, but you can control whether you give them your time and energy.
Love what you do
Honestly, I spend most of my time ‘working’, but it doesn’t feel like that because I genuinely love what I do. The average person spends a third of their life working. A third. Imagine wasting all that time on something you don’t enjoy.
The key to my success is the fact I never wake up dreading the day ahead. I wake up feeling motivated and excited to see what I’ll achieve that day.
If you’re miserable and unfulfilled in your career, you’ll never be successful. Why? Because you’ll never work as hard as you would for something you’re passionate about and you’ll never be happy.
Find something that you LOVE and turn it into a career. Whether that’s becoming an entrepreneur like I did, working with people or even writing, find your passion and spend your life pursuing it.
Life is too short not to!
Learn to embrace failure
By the time I was 25, I was a multi-millionaire. I was living the life I had always dreamed of and had reached my goal. When I lost everything, I had to start from scratch. I didn’t even have enough cash in my bank account to buy a tank of petrol.
Facing the reality that I was bankrupt, had lost all of my businesses and had a one-year-old to care for, I knew I couldn’t waste a second of time feeling sorry for myself. I had to accept the reality of the situation and find a way to overcome it.
And I did.
Failing was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It taught me some stuff, very real-life lessons that have helped me grow into a much better businessman and person.
The beauty of failure is that it’s an opportunity to learn. It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and start from the beginning, but with more knowledge and experience under your belt.
Success is never simple, nor is it easy. Success is a culmination of hard work, determination and FAILURE because no one will ever reach their full potential or appreciate the good things in life until they’ve experienced and overcome the bad.
If you want to be successful and happy, accept that failure is a necessary journey we all have to go on. Fucking up isn’t something to be ashamed of, but fucking up the same way twice IS!
Learn from your mistakes, take it on the chin and do better- you will find success AND happiness in the process.
Finding happiness is a long and strenuous process, trust me, I know. If you need help aligning your career, personal life and health to reach that point, let’s have a chat!
Get in touch for some personal coaching and fast-track your journey to fulfilment.