It’s hard (but not impossible) to be happy when your goals keep changing.

Are you a competitive person?

I know I am. While I don’t seek to compete against others (we are all on our own path in life) I do judge my own progress.

How am I doing today compared to yesterday? Is my performance improving? Have I progressed by the mandatory 1%?

The idea of being ultra-competitive has gotten a bad reputation, but my natural self-competitiveness has served me well in many ways.

For example, last year I started trail running at weekends. Yes, it is an extreme sport, but I compete only against myself. Running trails keeps me energized and fit. Plus I get ideas for writing when I run so it’s a win-win outcome!

Having a focus is good. But when it comes to writing, I don’t always feel inspired (shock!). Yet I know from experience that creativity occurs when I am mentally committed to get the work done.

So I push myself to write by setting incremental targets of 1%. Starting from zero base like most writers on this platform, I have so far gained 3K followers and top writer status in four categories.

Each day I strive to improve by a small margin. At the same time, I am mindful of celebrating my accomplishments (and those of others) along the way.

It’s hard to be happy when happiness is a fast moving target.

Many of us are addicted to chasing success. We spend our lives working toward goals we believe will make us happy.

We save up to buy a house, a car or nice clothes. We aim for a promotion at work. We search for the perfect soul mate. We seek out experiences that provide excitement in our lives.

At the root of everything we’re chasing is a desire for happiness. But once we achieve our goals, a predictable pattern occurs.

  • Our satisfaction is surprisingly fleeting.
  • What we wanted in the past is no longer enough to make us feel happy.
  • We feel compelled to level up our game.
  • We set our sights on bigger, more audacious goals.

Chasing and achieving goals is important. Yet when you’re competitive, your happiness is linked to success in a way that may preclude life satisfaction.

Success is great, but not at the cost of your happiness.

Many people think happiness and success are directly proportional to each other. This is not the case — Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success! 

I genuinely believe happy people have a better chance of attracting success into their lives. For more details, see my story on: How to Become a Powerful Good Luck Magnet.

Often there is only one thing that will ever truly satisfy an ultra-competitive person and that’s a lifelong pursuit to improve and challenge yourself in new and different ways.

Here are eight ways to maintain a happy outlook while you chase success throughout your life.

Be grateful

When you are ultra-competitive it pays to “take a time out” every so often to reflect on things. Think back to where you started to appreciate how much you have accomplished along the way.

Be present

Try to be conscious of living in the present and appreciating all the wonderful things in your life. Purposefully quiet your racing mind. Stop and smell the roses to feel happy.

Be silly

Successful people in all walks of life maintain a youthful sense of play in their work as adults. So remember to be silly and have fun!

Be realistic (goals are dreams with deadlines)

By all means think BIG. But at the same time the more realistic and attainable your goals are, the more likely you are to feel good about yourself.

Don’t compare yourself to others

We are all moving through life at our own speed. Be inspired by others and emulate them. Don’t feel your achievements are less worthy by comparing negatively.

Be sociable

Optimism like pessimism can be infectious. Surround yourself with as many positive, uplifting people as you can muster.

Be patient

Embrace healthy and respectful relationships. Be kind to your family and friends. You will feel good about your efforts.

Be rested

Get a good night’s sleep. A balance of sleep, healthy food and regular exercise is essential for a happy life.
This list is by no means exhaustive. I would love to hear your thoughts on how to chase success and achieve happiness in life.

Writing at the intersection of mind, spirit and creativity. My secret is to walk 10K daily to focus my mind and relax.
Writing at the intersection of mind, spirit and creativity. My secret is to walk 10K daily to focus my mind and relax.
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