Since I returned to Nigeria at the tail end of 2009, I’ve been preoccupied with the notion of success. How to get it, how to keep it and most importantly, how to grow it. For me, success was having a job that paid me lots of money, owning lots of nice things, living in a nice place and being in a relationship with someone who also had a lucrative job and lots of nice things. And, success was synonymous with happiness – once I was successful, I’d be happy and I could only be happy if I was successful. The problem was, I hadn’t taken much time to figure out what either “happiness” or “success” meant.
For most of us, success is synonymous with material wealth. You can tell a person is successful by their possessions – the kind of car they drive, the house they live in and the amount of money in their bank accounts. While happiness is usually measured by whether one has a significant other in their lives. And the assumption is that those who are successful and happy are superior to those who aren’t. That’s why there’s a billion-dollar industry in self-help literature that promises (usually in easy steps) to show people the paths to success and happiness.
But what if our definition of happiness and success is fundamentally distorted? What if, it is actually completely wrong?