• Susanne Birgersdotter

We are so focused on achieving success that we often forget the key elements to it. Success is elusive, not because it is unattainable. The reason why people struggle to achieve their goals is that they don’t know what they want. You see, there is no definite measure or description of success. It is different from one person to another. One might equate success to a comfortable life, while the other will see success with fame and fortune.

Success in life is when one is truly happy and contented. A woman living in a cottage, comfortable, and earning her keep from a small business she happily runs can be more of a success than a man in a mansion with multi-million businesses and still striving for more.

To be successful, we must first define what makes us happy. Is it the fame, the fat bank accounts, or the flashy cars? Nothing wrong with that, if that’s what makes you happy, go for it. Some people would attach success with self-improvement, helping others, or independence and solitude. Nothing wrong with that too.

Achieving happiness is not always easy. Here are 20 realities in life that all happy and positive people know, accepted, and embraced. Most of us will tend to fight these realities, only to find ourselves struggling and deeper into depression and loneliness.

Every lesson has a price to pay.

Everything has a price, and every experience has a reason. The excess pounds you are trying to lose, the heartbreak you’re wallowing in, and the ‘wasted’ weekends you stayed home to learn the stock market is the price you pay for a healthier, stronger and wiser you. You may not know that in your struggle, but you will recognize and will be grateful for the experience and the ‘lessons’ once you pull through it.

The grass is greener when you water it.

Success is not dependent on your location or circumstances. It is how you make the most out of your predicament. Anyone can succeed regardless of where he/she is or what life throws to him/her. Success will come if and only when you work for it. It’s no use watching other people grow and succeed unless you turn them into inspiration for your journey.

People come and go.

It is normal for people to change, grow, and grow apart. Circumstances, life journeys, and goals can pull people together and drift them apart. Your circle of friends can grow or dwindle, you can practically be sisters one day, and strangers the next. People will come and go, don’t take it personally. Just cherish the moments, learn the lessons, and let go.

Keep people who care close to your heart.

And then some will stay closer for longer. Keep in your heart the people who really care about you and the relationship. These are the people who chose to stay when they can go, who chose you when they have others to pick, who took the time and effort to know the real you, and who stayed by you in your darkest hours.

You can’t please everyone.

Trying to please everyone is a hopeless endeavor. People are raised differently, came from different cultures, and will have differing opinions of what is right and wrong, of what is beautiful and ugly. Stop forcing yours to others and just respect how they perceive the world. And the world will respect you too.

Build meaningful relationships.

Take the time and effort to build meaningful relationships with the people around you. Go out with lunch with the people from work, smile to the person taking your coffee order, know the name of your neighbors’ children and pets. Be a real person to them, not just a stranger they see every morning.

You will need help at some point in your life. No matter how hard you plan and build on your independence, there will come a time when you will need a helping hand. You can get stranded, mugged, or locked out of your house. You might need a person to look after your business, your family, or you. You can lose your job, your business or a loved one. A million unexpected things can hit you hard and those little meaningful relationships can come in to save the day or just give a hand to help you get back on your feet.

Successful relationships take effort.

Luck and love don’t make marriages, friendships, and partnerships last. It takes a lot of effort from all parties to make relationships work. You have to nurture that relationship with care and attention. Neglected lovers, friends, and business partners will slowly drift away. Show them how you care and value them, the appreciated will remain by your side.

You’re only truly happy when you accept yourself.

Real happiness comes from within you, and you can only be truly happy when you’re at peace with your whole self, including your looks, your personality, your past, your talents, and your mistakes. Only when you learn to love your looks, your quirkiness, when you forgive your mistakes, and accept your past that you will be free and happy.

Life is never fair.

You can’t pet a tiger and expect to pet you back. You can’t expect everyone to be honest just because you are. Nothing is fair – in love, war, and business. You might have the best offer, the best plan, the purest heart, and you can still end up the loser. Suck it up, it’s not you. It’s life, and it’s not fair.

Nobody owes you.

Your parents do not owe you a comfortable life, your country is not responsible for your predicament, your school is not accountable for your success or failure. You have complete control of your life and it’s your future is your total responsibility. Stop expecting people to help you, give you favors, or support you. It’s all on you.

Choose your battles.

Choose your battles and count your victories. You can’t engage in every fight presented to you; you’ll burn yourself out. Petty quarrels over small things aren’t really worth your time and energy. Focus on the big goal. If something is not getting you any closer to the goal, it’s not worth your while. Fight for what matters and celebrate every victory.

Live how you believe.

Are you passionate about gender equality? Respect all gender preferences. Love animals? Turn vegan. Love nature? Live in the woods. Go to the church of your choice, or not at all. Do whatever makes you happy and fulfilled. Do not worry about what others will say. Just be kind and respect others how they prefer to live their life.

Don’t be afraid of ridicule.

Many people feel obligated to conform and limit their choices to the boundaries of society. They are afraid of ridicule, of being different, and attracting too much attention to themselves. But a happy life is all about freedom, acceptance, and self-awareness. Remember, there is only one opinion of yourself that matters – yours.

No one cares.

Oversharing is the plague of today. We share everything – our relationships, problems, experiences, plans, dinner, shopping trips, and even the bug you saw at the park. The simple truth is, no one cares. You could be shouting to an empty void. You’re not special and everyone is dealing with their own problems to worry about yours. Solve your problems, enjoy the food, and let the bug be.

Appearances aren’t everything.

A pretty face and awesome figure might get you through the door, but it will not keep you inside for long. Physical beauty fades, do not bank on them. People will always prefer a good person over a handsome jerk. Not everyone is blessed with loveliness, but everyone can be beautiful with the right disposition, attitude, and goodness of the heart.

Your pride can cause stupid things.

Your stupid pride will only bring you more pride, loneliness, and heartbreak. Often, being kind is better than being right. Choosing love over winning an argument will save relationships. No argument win is more important a friendship, a marriage, or a business partnership. Always take the high road, you’ll never get lost from there.

The other perspective can be clearer.

A 360-degree view is always better than a 180-degree or 240-degree. It eliminates hidden spots and gives you the entire picture. Make it a habit to step back and consider the other person’s point-of-view. It could be clearer from his/her vantage point. You can’t be looking at a problem from your side of things only, you must also consider the other parties – your customers, your friends, or your employees.

Count your blessings.

Always look at life as a half-filled glass. Stop gaping at and envying the other person’s life. Look at yours and recognize the things you have – your family, your intelligence, your home. Be grateful, many people are happier for much less. Envy is a never-ending pursuit of nothing. Someone else will always be wealthier, lovelier, smarter. You will die trying, but you will never win.

Always be kind.

You can never go wrong with kindness. A kind word, a smile, or an opened door will brighten up one’s day. You never know what the other person is going through, and you can never imagine the impact of kindness when someone is struggling. Always be kind – smile, offer your hand, greet people, pet that stray cat. Happiness is simple and cheap, and kindness to others is the best way to be happy.