Being successful takes more than money.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Success or failure sign

Success or failure.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Money alone won’t make you successful.

Very often we hear about people who had far more money than the average and still, their lives turned out to be disasters. When you think of successful people do you only think about how much money they have?

Past posts here on counselorssoapbox.com have talked about having a successful life. After many of those posts, I get comments from readers that they are not concerned about success because their lives are not all about money. It is as if, in their own heads they so equate lots of money with success, they have given up on believing they can have money. This means they will avoid efforts to make their life a success because they think successes for them is unattainable.

Success means a lot more than just your bank account balance. You can have piles of cash and still, your life can be in ruins. Success comes from having and accomplishing goals. There are many worthy goals in life that have very little to do with money. Money is an abstract thing. It is a medium of exchange. What matters is not how much money you have but what you can do with it.

Money is a tool that you might use to increase your successes but money can also be a stumbling block to those very important successes in the other areas of your life.

Here are some things, other than money, you need to be successful.

Good relationships with family and friends equal success.

It is a dismal failure who has piles of cash and no one who wants to be around them for any reason other than that money. Having good friends makes you rich in spirit.

One of the great fallacies of modern life has been the idea that men should go out and work, make lots of money, which they send home to their family to support them. Men equated the things they give their families with being successful. What many men tell me is that they learned too late that buying their children things was not a measure of success. What matters more than what you buy them is the time you spend them.

Sacrificing those precious hours of your life for money is of no values if you gave up time with people to get it.

A purpose for your life makes you successful.

If you can find a purpose for your life you are well along the road to happiness. If your purpose is money then once you get there you will have no purpose. If your purpose is to be of service there will always more opportunities to fulfill your purpose.

At the end of your life, the things you owned will be gone but the experiences you had will remain. Invest in a life well lived and you will get many rewards that can’t be measured dollars or yen.

Having a purpose for living makes your life a success.

Self-esteem, feeling good about what you do marks success.

Self-esteem ought not to be based on what you have. Things come and go. You might lose your things tomorrow. But who you are and how you have lived that will continue.

In the recent economic downturn, a lot of people lost a lot of things. Homes and cars can go into foreclosure. You may need to make do with what you have. Having is not the measure of success. Doing those things that matter, that marks a successful person.

Success is maximizing your health.

Good health is not a universal gift. Money may buy you a good doctor or even a transplant but it can’t assure you good health.

Clearly, some people will do all they can to be healthy and still ill-health finds them. But you should never consider exchanging your health for cash to be a good bargain.

That need to keep yourself as healthy as possible is not exclusive to your physical health. If that job or career is harmful to your mental health the money you are receiving is inadequate compensation for a mentally unhealthy life.

Are you walking along the pathways to success? How will you know when you have reached it?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Buying happiness.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Happy children

Happy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Just how do you go about getting happiness?

Happiness seems to be so much harder to get than misery. In a previous post, I wrote about 13 ways to make yourself miserable. Finding ways to make yourself happy seems so much more difficult. It appears there are only a couple of ways we humans go about trying to acquire happiness. I did an internet search and found mostly things to do, places to go, to make me happy. There were also some sites devoted to treating unhappiness based on the assumption if we are less miserable we must then be happier.

Lots of people try to make themselves happy by buying. Despite more goods available now for purchase than ever before these things have not resulted in a universal reduction in unhappiness. More stuff and still we are unhappy.

More money does not make us happy, hence the old saying “money does not buy happiness.” Is that so? Then why do we keep spending money trying to become happy?

People also try to find happiness in frantic doing. The paradox here is that the people who do the most seem to be the least happy.

There are times when buying and doing do make people happy. Maybe the difference is in the way we spend our money and our time.

1. Doing for others makes us feel good.

Have you ever done something for a little child or a sick person? How did it make you feel to help someone else? Did you feel bad? Did you feel good? Most people tell me that helping a child makes them feel good.

This is a major part of the twelfth step as those who have been around a twelve-step group can tell you. Sponsors offer to help newcomers because it feels good to help. Anytime we are thinking about others and not ourselves our problems shrink. Twelve-step sponsors work with newcomers because it keeps them sober.

The joy of helping others sure looks like happiness to me.

2. The way we spend our money determines if it makes us happy or not.

Michael Norton has done a wonderful video on how the way we spend our money affects our happiness, more on Michael Norton at the end of this post.

People, who spend money on others, most often feel happier about the purchase than people who spend the money on themselves. Norton has done a lot of research on this. The results seem to be the same almost everywhere on the planet.

Donate money to charity and you will feel better. Spend it on yourself and the pleasure will last a very short time. Now, this does not say to neglect ourselves or that it is wrong to do nice things for ourselves. What he does point out is that money spent solely for the purpose of making ourselves happy is likely to fail.

The size of the purchase does not seem to matter. One huge donation to a charity, while commendable does not create the long-term happiness that developing a habit of being helpful or of service to people will create.

The conclusion I take from all this is that developing a habit of caring about others and spending your time and money on doing good, creates more happiness. Grow the habit of selfishness and spending on your own pleasure and no amount of time or money can make you happy.

About Mr. Norton, you can see the video of his presentation on the TED site. For those of you not familiar with TED it is an organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading.” This is one online video source worth watching. Here is the link.

Michael Norton TED – Ideas worth spreading

Any of you have stories about the way in which you spent your time and money and how those expenditures influenced your happiness?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.