“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” -Albert Schweitzer
Last week, I was part of the studio audience for a taping of the Jay Leno show. One of the guests was Glee’s Jane Lynch, who I learned has a new book out called Happy Accidents.
What struck me during her interview was her confession of struggling with chronic anxiety throughout most of her rise to fame. She always felt apprehensive about her decisions, unsure of whether or not she was doing the right things to succeed as an actress.
In retrospect, she realizes that all that stress did nothing to lead her where she is now, and that all she really needed to do was to take the chances in front of her—because all those “happy accidents” added up to make her dream come true.
While listening to her speak, I couldn’t help but wonder what conclusions she’d have formed at this point in her life if she hadn’t succeeded on a massive scale. It’s a lot easier to relax when you feel like you’ve done what you intended to do. It’s easier to be kind to yourself when you feel proud of yourself.
If things had worked out differently, she may very well feel the same; judging from the interview, she’s gleaned a lot of wisdom in her 51 years. Still, this got me thinking.
The challenge for most of us is learning to adopt that calm, accepting mindset when we’re midway through the climb, wherever it is where headed. The reality is there are no guarantees about the heights we’ll reach–we can never know for certain where our “accidents” will take us.
Perhaps happiness is appreciating and enjoying those detours, regardless of where they lead.
Maybe it’s more than just believing in our ability to succeed; maybe happiness is believing in our ability to be content and satisfied whether we do or not.
Today if you feel fixated on the success you want to achieve, remember: the greatest success is doing what you love and believing that’s enough.
Photo by kurvenalbn
About Lori Deschene
Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, Tiny Buddha's Worry Journal, and Tiny Buddha's Inner Strength Journal and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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