Why success doesn’t equal Happiness

being rich doesnt mean to have a lot of money

You know these books about how to become rich or how to get a millonaire’s mindset? Well, this post is a little bit different as I’m going to tell you why I don’t want to be a millonaire anymore. It all started last week when I had several a-ha moments, One of them being that I don’t want to be crazy successful or rich anymore. This came as a real surprise because for the longest time that’s ALL I ever wanted.

Growing up, I was fascinated by personalities like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or Richard Branson. It was crystal clear to me that life was only worthy with their achievements. I was eager to start my own life-changing company and finally be part of the rich and successful. I took on the concept of a hustler. Thus, I started consuming all the information out there on how to become a millionaire. Concepts like ‘You have to work 24/7 to achieve your goals’ or ‘If you want to be successful, you basically need to give up your life, neglect family and friends and be married to your company’ became ingrained into my mind. 

I was young and full of fire and also prepared to do anything it took to become like my idols. To be someone. To be seen as worthy. Because back then my worthiness was closely tight to my success. I could either show off what I had accomplished or otherwise no one would like me. I feel crazy writing this but that’s the strain of thoughts that were repeating over and over in my head.  

What I wanted for so long is actually not what I want at all

I wrote about my story many times on here. How I finished college and dove right into the entrepreneurial adventure. How it all failed and how broken I felt afterwards. This feeling of unworthiness and failure has accompanied me to this day. Until last week, when I finally realized that what I wanted for so long is actually not what I want at all.

success is more than money in your bank account

When we look at these successful personalities, may it be entrepreneurs, influencers or anyone else that is in the public eye, all we see is the shiny outside. The money, the fame, and so on. And I think it lies in our human nature. We are naturally drawn to what we don’t have. But what we don’t see is at what cost all of these things are coming. We don’t see that most of these people are suffering from one or several severe health conditions (why do you think most successful influencers suffer from depression and anxiety?!). We don’t see how lonely these people feel because most of their friends and family have turned their backs on them, either out of jealously or because this person’s success altered their personality. 

Deep down I knew this all along, but I still continued to be bedazzled by all the shine. Our minds are so set on this one concept. Growing up, society teaches us that we need to go to school, get a degree, find a high-paying job and live happily ever after. If we don’t follow this concept to a T, we are doomed to a life of suffering and poorness. 

Being rich doesn’t mean you have a lot of money

The reality is life is so much more than money and success. Living a rich life means being healthy, having a great relationship to family and friends or waking up every day excited for life. What use is all that money in the world if you are constantly stressed, suffer from bad health, or don’t get to experience joyful moments with your loved ones?

The pandemic showed me again that there is so much more life has to offer and that we can be so grateful. 

Going back to my entrepreneurial story: when I started my activewear label, I thought I was finally living my dream. I should have been so excited and full of life all the time. But quite the opposite was the case. I’ve never felt more out of alignment than throughout these three years. I wasn’t able to relax anymore or just do things for fun outside of my business because I felt that I would fall behind and not be able to make it. My mind was in constant overdrive, worrying about this or that. What once started as a passion project and out of love for fitness and fashion, slowly turned into a nightmare. The more I pushed my way through, the worse everything got. It felt like someone was letting me run into wall after wall after wall on purpose (this makes me think of the Chris Brown Song ‘From Wall to Wall’). Just to show me that this wasn’t the right path for me. 

But of course, I didn’t listen. I trusted all the outside voices more than I trusted myself. And what happens if you continuously push down your feelings? Right, your body starts to raise its voice. 

OUr bodies start talking when we deny our feelings

My left shoulder started hurting. And no matter how many workouts or stretches I did, it would worsen. At one point, it got so bad that I could barely sit anymore. My gut started cramping on a regular basis. I barely knew what to eat anymore. And you know with the gut and your mind being so tightly connected, this would also affect my mood. I would lay awake at night worrying about all kinds of stuff.  Which in turn, made my gut issues even worse. 

I was not taking part in life anymore and felt like a mere shadow of myself. Everything that used to bring me joy, didn’t anymore. I sometimes thought if life was over tomorrow, I didn’t really care because there is nothing worth living for anymore.

Luckily, I was always surrounded by amazing friends and family and my boyfriend, of course. I knew that giving up on myself and life was the easy (and cowardly) way out. I knew that this little ball of sunshine that I once used to be, was still inside of me. I just had to remember and reawaken her again. 

genuine friends make life so much richer

On this journey of self-exploration, I’m realizing more and more that life is not about your path to success or what kind of legacy you leave behind. It’s more about the little things like how you made a person feel, how you were entirely present at your mom’s birthday, or how you fully enjoyed the first sunrays on a warm Spring day. It’s also about being grateful for your and your child’s health, the good relationship you have with your family, and genuine friendships. And that you have a roof over your head (even just a tiny one) and food on your table. I know all these things seem so frugal, but they are actually not the norm for everyone. We, in the Western world, are so caught up in our daily stressors, we oftentimes forget how lucky we actually are. 

Always Wanting more is actually a vicious cycle

In the end, do you really need this big mansion atop the hill or the fifth car in your garage? It may be exciting for the first few days but what’s left once the excitement wears off? Then you are back to your old unsatisfied self, hustling even harder to reach the next goal. It’s a never-ending cycle. There will always be someone who is smarter, prettier or richer in your eyes. Why not stop this vicious cycle now and start appreciating you for who you are? You are sheer perfection and you came here to share your unique gifts with the world.

You don’t have to constantly improve yourself to be of worth to this world. You came into this world with everything that’s needed already. It’s the worries and stories you picked up along the way that made you think that you are not good enough. But let me tell you again: you are! You are doing things differently than everyone around you is actually intended that way. Because only then can we grow as a human species. 

Imagine Edison would have given up on his quest to invent the light bulb because he was the only one doing research on that topic. We would still all be in the dark. Or imagine Steve Jobs had listened to his engineers when they told them that it was impossible to put all this technology into such a tiny box when working on the iPod. We would still run around with large gadgets to listen to music. Or Walt Disney had believed his teacher who told him that he wasn’t creative. A world without Disney World would indeed be a very dull place.

Life is more than success

Being successful doesn’t mean you have to make it on the cover of Vogue or be part of the Forbes X under X list. Success is putting a smile on another person’s face or showing your kid lots of love on a daily basis so that it grows up feeling loved. Money and all the material things you can buy with it are nothing compared to your own inner peace and happiness. 

the beauty of life lies in the little things

So yes, I gave up on the wish to be a millionaire, billionaire or whatever if it comes at the price of giving up my health and happiness. I live in a two-bedroom apartment, my bank account is pretty empty most of the time, I’m having a baby with no job. But you know what? My baby is healthy, I’m healthy, my boyfriend is healthy, my family is healthy, I’m well fed every day, I have a car that drives me everywhere, and I have it warm. 

Life is perfect if you just let it unfold the way it’s supposed to for you. It’s great to have dreams, wishes or desires. But you know what, if you let all of that go, life will provide you so much more than you could have ever dreamed of. The possibilities are literally endless. That’s the beauty of life!

The only thing you have to do is be yourself, let go, and receive!

Signatur Madeleine

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