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Success vs Satisfaction with Life

I’ve been thinking recently about success and very quickly it became clear to me that I was more interested in being satisfied in life – in the big picture. Sure, I already have a roof over my head and don’t need to worry about having enough money to buy the basics. So, I started ‘unpacking’ this topic.


Consider these questions about success.


What does success mean for me?

  • What would be different if I had success? Have I already had success and in what way?

  • What would I be seeing, hearing, saying, doing if I had more success?


Then I started to think about material vs personal success.

Material Success enables:

  • The ability to pursue high standards of health and quality of life;

  • Travel to expand my understandings and for pleasure;

  • Eating out weekly at cafes and restaurants;

  • Contributing and being valued via paid employment

  • The ability to enhance my surroundings via beauty in the home and garden; and

  • The ability to support my values and support matters I care about (eg cruelty to animals, poverty).

Personal success is a little different but overlaps - it includes for me:

  • Living in beautiful environment - fresh air

  • Includes listening to and acting from my own sense of knowing/intuition;

  • Having strong loving friendships;

  • Time to pursue personal passions/interests;

  • Time to relax;

  • Eat quality food and keep my body healthy through exercise;

  • Contributing to others wellbeing and doing good acts for the world;

  • Living my values;

  • Being able to speak up - advocate for myself (and others);

  • Contributing and being valued via paid employment;

  • Learning more about myself and others via reading and learning/courses/teaching.


Creating success

There are many ways to achieve success. One of the simplest strategies is to align your success with your natural talents, and your values.


  1. Know your strengths and weakness, and what you are good at. Consider it your god given natural resource. Choose it to be your means to abundance in life.

  2. Know your values.

  3. Align your goals according to your strengths and your values

  4. Live in harmony with yourself and your values - listen to your inner yes/no and act from it.

Being satisfied in life is a whole different perspective.

(Ref 100 simple secrets of the best half of life by David Niven)


Happiness is being happy in the moment.

Life satisfaction is being happy about your life. Life satisfaction is the happiness that exists when we consider the past and the big picture of our life.

What does research tell us about increasing life satisfaction? Here are some points which make total sense to me.



Have A Life Story First and foremost, research shows that meaning in life comes from the stories we tell ourselves about our lives. So the no. 1 point is What is your life story? What are you telling yourself and others about your life?

Do you need a re write?


Have close friends. You only need a few. In fact you can only usually manage a few.

and sometimes we need a friend overhaul. This will be a topic for a future article.


Have Goals People with goals are nearly 20% more satisfied with their lives.

Be Passionate about something and give into it.

Reduce your focus on finances/material wealth.


Keep learning - and consider that growth isn’t possible without change.


Practice gratitude

Stay aware of comparing themselves to others (and reduce it).

Incorporate non material joys in your life (eg enjoying nature, playing with a pet, sitting in the sun).


Act from what important by knowing their personal values.


Go easy on self criticism - it is a normal human behaviour but often it is unkind and unhelpful.


Now you’ve read this you might like to go and have a bit of non- material joy – even combining a few such as sitting in the sun and hanging out with a close friend – and although face to face contact is wonderful, our modern world enables face time contact via phone. Love it.

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