😐 Smile Less, Achieve More
Tom Izzo, the head coach behind Michigan State University basketball’s 8 Final Four appearances and an NCAA Championship, recently said:
"You know what, what's wrong with being unhappy? I'm unhappy most of my life. Unhappy drives you. Unhappy pushes you. Unhappy makes people realize, 'You know what? I'm not good enough. I've got to get better.'"
At first glance, it's an aggressive statement.
Especially coming from such as successful man.
But dive a little deeper, and you'll find wisdom in these words.
The Misconception of Happiness as Success
Society often equates happiness with success.
From films to social media, the narrative is consistent: "If you're happy, you've made it."
It’s an unreliable metric for success.
Today's joy can be tomorrow's sorrow.
Does that mean our success is equally fleeting?
Happiness is just one shade in our emotional palette.
A study found that chasing happiness can actually make people feel worse.
Because it sets an unrealistic expectation that every day should be a good day.
Yet, life has its rhythms, its highs and lows.
The Power of Purpose
Purpose, unlike happiness, isn't a passing feeling.
It's a light, illuminating our path even on dark nights.
It’s fair to say that Nelson Mandela wasn’t necessarily “happy” during his 27 years in prison.
However, his crystal clear purpose — to end apartheid — kept him going.
Purpose brings depth to our existence, pushing us forward even when happiness is hard to find.
The Role of Attitude
A positive attitude, especially when faced with adversity, gives you the resilience to bounce back.
When faced with setbacks, instead of complaining, ask:
“What can I learn from this?”
The answer often leads to growth.
Taking Consistent Action
Actions speak louder than feelings. Consider Elon Musk.
When he started SpaceX, experts laughed at the idea of a private company making space travel a possibility.
After three failed launches and being on the brink of bankruptcy, Musk could've given up.
Yet, he kept moving forward.
The fourth launch for SpaceX was a success.
His drive and consistent action, regardless of setbacks and haters, are revolutionizing space technology.
Success isn’t about waiting to be in the right mood.
It's about doing what needs to be done, regardless how you feel.
The Essence of Effort
Effort transforms potential into mastery.
While natural talent might create a foundation, it's persistent effort that builds the monument.
Take Kobe Bryant, for instance.
Known for his early morning workouts and relentless training sessions, he once said:
"I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success."
The Dangers of External Validation
External validation — the applause, the accolades — is a drug.
The more you get, the more you want.
But like any drug, its effects are temporary.
True validation comes from within.
It's the voice inside that says, “I showed up. I did the work. I did my best.”
That internal recognition, absent of external noise, is both grounding and uplifting.
Maintaining Standards and Values
Values are the bedrock of real success.
In a world of ever-shifting norms, it’s tempting to compromise our principles.
Yet, it's our non-negotiable values that anchor us.
When our emotions attempt to steer us off course, our core values provide the necessary course correction.
Increasing the Surface Area for Happiness
By embracing purpose, a positive attitude, consistent action, effort, and unwavering values, we expand our surface area for happiness.
Rather than pursuing happiness itself, we lay the groundwork for it to show up.
But how you choose to show up, every single day, remains.
As Izzo's words suggest, it's not all about happiness.
It's about commitment to a cause, relentless effort, and a will to improve.
So, the next time you find yourself chasing happiness, hit pause and reflect.
Maybe what you’re really seeking lies beyond your temporary emotions.
Focus on the journey, on daily commitment, on actions aligned with your purpose.
In that pursuit, genuine happiness might just find you.