Bill Cottringer

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” ~Herman Cain

Success and happiness definitely reign as King and Queen of the worlds’ mind, at least according to the total number of Internet hits on these two words and the other main ones that help define them positively and negatively. No kidding, I did a Google search on the mega words of happy and success and all the things that usually get mentioned in the same breath like health, wealth, body, God, love, beauty, sex, money, self-growth/improvement, motivation, communication, truth, intelligence and their opposites.

Well, the total hits at the end of this research exploded my calculator into a number way beyond my comprehension. The nearly infinite volume of information available on these two central issues of life would take thousands of lifetimes of non-stop reading to digest. What are we to do with this overwhelming overload of information?

A good place to start in plowing through this chaos of information about success and happiness, is to decide on a simple definition of what these things are that really makes sense from what is known. Try this one:

“Success and happiness are the very positive, compelling, and intrinsically rewarding feelings you get as an ultimate outcome from your efforts and progress in learning, growing and improving in the six main areas of your life:”

1. Physical: Being healthy by practicing proper nutrition, exercise, rest, and stress-reducing relaxation.
2. Intellectual: Developing your logic, creativity, critical thinking and practical common sense to solve problems; growing your knowledge of operating principles and wisdom of experience.
3. Emotional: Growing your self-awareness, empathy, compassion and ability to love unconditionally.
4. Social: Learning to get along with others with patience and tolerance of differences, and being likeable and communicating well.
5. Vocational: Finding and developing your unique talents to serve others in enjoyable, meaningful and rewarding work that makes a difference.
6. Spiritual: Letting go to a higher power, realizing the interdependency of things, engaging in selfless altruism, nurturing your soulful needs of experiencing life with humility and without judgment, and becoming more whole.

This self-actualization model of success and happiness has been around for a long time. But what might be new is the clarity and simplicity with which we can now see the dual gift and curse nature of thinking and feeling, which becomes the main obstacle in our way and yet also the only cure to move ahead.

We know there is positive and negative energy that moves the universe. We also know that the positive thinking and feeling that make up the Law of Attraction is the Secret cure to learning, growing and improving in the above six main areas of our lives. But succumbing to the curse of negative thinking and feeling is a very real obstacle in the way.

The question that deserves thought is: How do we take the sting out of the curse of negative thinking and feeling so these mental activities affect us less negatively, allowing a little wiggle room for the positive energy to grow stronger? Fortunately there is a way to untangle such a vicious circle, but unfortunately it can’t happen over night. It involves using all the positive energy we are building in our self-actualization process (that is always going on with or without our awareness) to see a certain aspect of reality more clearly and completely.

The portal to accessing the success and happiness connection becomes visible when you apply one essential reality repair tool: Slowing down to notice how you can easily make suffering much worse than it needs to be, by adding a layer of negative mental and emotional suffering on top of the inevitable suffering that we have to accept from the negative things that will always happen as the way of life. There is natural suffering and then there is unnatural suffering about suffering so to speak.

Probably the only way to stumble upon this life-changing insight is to consciously start looking for the positive benefits and practical value of negative things that happen, which you would rather just avoid altogether. After just a few discoveries, both sides of the equation suddenly seem to start making sense. And more re-connections quickly follow, like the success and happiness one. That is when all your six selves start working better together more consciously as your best whole self to increase your success and happiness, especially your awareness of what is going one. This makes it more appreciable and enjoyable.

We often don’t sense the progress that is happening more by itself without our help, because we allow ourselves to get over-focused on things that bother us, which makes our impatience grow for the things we like and want. The reality that takes the most faith is the one that we are always being pulled, pushed, carried or medivaced to a better place ahead, even when it feels like we are going painfully backwards. That kind of wrong perception is probably the main reason for not accessing the success and happiness connection.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the scenic mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing), The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press), You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence), The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree), and Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers), and Reality Repair Rx (Publish America) This article is an excerpt from an upcoming book Reality Repair. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or