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A very Happy New Year to you!
I hope you had a chance to take some time off and spend time with your loved ones
So, let’s start the new year by exploring a very interesting equation – something which I have been thinking for quite some time now
The relationship between 3 things – success, happiness and freedom
3 very powerful and deep meaning words....
In the rich tapestry of life, success, happiness, and freedom are intricately weaved together, creating a dynamic interplay that unfolds across the chapters of our life
We all have a different understanding of each of these words. Infact, we attach different meanings to them
Not just that, their meaning changes for us with time, right?
For example, in the early chapters of your life, success often wears the mask of external validations – the dream job clinched, the longed-for promotion achieved
In those moments, there's a tangible sense of accomplishment, a fleeting taste of success that sparks ephemeral happiness
In some way or the other, money acts as a proxy for success (and happiness) during this phase, right?
What’s more important is that the freedom to define success independently, free from societal norms, may still feel out of reach, shadowed by the expectations of others
Infact, during these early phases of life, most of us are consciously looking for success (more than happiness)
We believe that success will lead to happiness – whether this happens or not is of course debatable
During this time, freedom is usually not on the top of our minds
As the story progresses, the relationship between success and happiness takes on a more nuanced form with time. Life becomes more complex
In most cases, you realize that while you have been successful on many fronts, you may or may not be truly happy
Money continues to be a proxy for happiness for some of us
You also start comparing your journey with others and a lot of self-doubts creep in your mind. You struggle to define what happiness really means to you as it becomes elusive
For some others, success transforms into an internal journey – the resilience to conquer challenges, the personal growth borne from setbacks
Happiness, too, shifts from the transient joy of achievements to a more enduring well-being found in meaningful connections and purpose
It is usually at this stage that a fleeting sense and need for freedom also start developing unconsciously in our minds
For a select few, these threads entwine in fresh and new ways. Success, now seen as the impact one has on others, aligns with a deeper sense of purpose
Achievements are not just for self, but contribute to the greater good, yielding profound and lasting happiness
At this stage, freedom emerges as the ability to craft a life in tune with personal values, breaking free from societal expectations
In the later chapters of our lives, the interconnectedness deepens. Success evolves into legacy – the positive influence and contributions that outlast us
Happiness resides in the fulfilment of purpose, the joy derived from making a difference
Freedom, fully realized, is the liberation from external judgments, an unapologetic expression of one's authentic self
For many, freedom has a more singular meaning - financial freedom, right?
For others, freedom means the ability to do what you want, when you want and where you want
This is an intricate dance of life - success, happiness, and freedom are not solitary entities, but a harmonious trio. Sometimes, their meaning converges and at other times, they are not the same
What’s really empowering is the fact that you can decide their meaning for your own life
Acknowledging and understanding the interconnectedness of these elements unlocks the true essence of a fulfilled and purposeful life
And that’s what I want you to reflect back from today’s email
As you shift gears for 2024, think about the following (you can look at both your personal and professional lives):
1. What does success truly mean to you?
List out 3 goals which will define your success in 2024
2. What does happiness truly mean to you?
List out 3 things, which if happen, will make you happy in 2024
3. Finally, what does freedom truly mean to you?
List out 3 things which need to happen which will give you a sense of freedom in 2024
Once you have the 3 lists prepared, see which activities/goals are common across the 3 lists – that’s where you need to put your maximum time, energy and focus this year
If the meaning you attach to success vs happiness vs freedom converge, then you will have something in common in the 3 lists
And if you don’t find anything common in the 3 lists, don’t worry. It’s simply an indication that wherever you are in life currently, you perceive success vs happiness vs freedom differently
There is still an interconnectedness, which may not be evident immediately
Ofcourse, you might argue that you don’t want to attach an external goal or milestone to your success or happiness. That’s also a potential line of thought worth exploring
Ultimately, it’s not about searching for success, happiness or freedom
It’s about self-awareness and self-realization (in some cases, self-discovery as well)
And it’s about acceptance and then, aligning your actions and decisions accordingly
That’s all from my side for today
I know that this might be a slightly heavy topic to explore, but believe me, if you are able to get clarity on this, it will go a long way:
What does success mean to you?
What does happiness mean to you?
What does freedom mean to you?