There are many definitions of happiness and success as they apply to your career, relationships and other important areas of your life. Let’s look at this by the stages:
- Stage One―When life is easy with no demands or challenges to worry about … Having a reliable and dependable caretaker who is also a provider of all necessities.
- Stage Two―Getting away with something … Achieving dominance over people … On the positive side, it’s sheer joy and the lack of unwanted inhibition.
- Stage Three―Living your life “properly” by staying within the black-and-white parameters of your world … Not drawing any negative attention to yourself … Fitting in and doing what you “should” as well as doing your part to cause others around you, to “toe the line” as well … The belief that your religious or spiritual path, and yours alone, is most in tune with the divine.
- Stage Four―Achieving acceptance, approval, fame, and positive recognition (e.g., winning an award) … Keeping personal relationships happy and conflict-free.
- Stage Five―Keeping all roles and relationships in balance and without problems … Being effective and not overwhelmed … Achieving affluence … Finding a hobby and making time for pleasurable activities as another important way to balance your life and “recharge your batteries” ( “pleasurable activities” are those that provide fun and a “healthy alternative” to work and chores).
- Stage Six―The satisfaction of reaching a difficult goal or solving a tough problem… The feelings of excitement and being unstoppable that come from peak performance … Feelings of relaxation and inner peace … The bliss associated with the little things encountered in everyday life, such as the glow of a nice spring day, writing poetry, reading a good book or listening to your favorite music … Exploring novelty and whatever makes you curious … Doing what you really want to be doing (e.g., what you are most passionate about, which often provides the most fun and enjoyment) … When the distinction between work and play disappears … Being with those you love and feeling deeply connected to them … Unconditional self-acceptance … When you can call up your playful and fun lower stage hooks at will, connect with those feelings of innocence that result and let yourself enjoy being child-like… Anything that connects you with your best feelings about yourself. This the ingredient that the best friendships, love relationships, missions, avocations and spiritual connections have in common.
- Stage Seven―Achieving the desired impact on a person/people/or segment of the world you most care about … Helping others and seeing them reap the benefits of your efforts … Being fully connected to and engaged in your principles and purpose. At some point, Stage Six endeavors fall short in the category of your most private feelings of self-perception. This is a great indication that you are ripe for an organic ascent to Stage Seven in a given area of life.
What makes your stage climb so empowering is knowing that the target stages which put your happiness and success firmly under your control are yours for the taking, if you can remember to use that litmus test of what triggers in you the best feelings about yourself—not your job, the other person or anything else external. This source of information is available to you in the privacy of your own mind, 24 hours a day. That’s the best news of all!