Love and success are two of life’s great pursuits.
Many would argue they’re the two primary factors driving happiness. Having people around you that you love, finding your soulmate (or partner, if you don’t believe in that sort of thing), and building a career you’re passionate about.
But when it comes to love and success, we believe all kinds of things that just aren’t true. Are they connected? How much do they really play into the meaning of life?
He has achieved success who has worked well, laughed often, and loved much.
– Elbert Hubbard
Here’s what no one has told you about love and success:
1. Love isn’t necessary to realize success and reach happiness
Growing up, the world makes you think that falling in love and starting a family is a necessary part of being successful. However, the reality is that it just isn’t true.
I love my wife and children and wouldn’t change that for the world, but not everyone wants a family or romantic love. I’ve learned that you don’t need either to be happy, and that success can be defined many different ways. In fact, a happiness based entirely on other people is more of an unstable illusion than a real source of happiness.
2. Love comes in many forms
Society teaches us that romantic love is the end-all-be-all, but I believe that it’s just one way to experience true love.
True love can also be experienced in the love we have for our children, parents, even for someone who has helped us move forward in life or who has sacrificed things for us. And it can also be experienced in touching the lives of others by doing what we love.
Ultimately, love is about connecting deeply with others and, while romantic love is a very special experience that can bring much joy, it’s just one way to achieve that connection with other human beings and experience what real love is about.
3. Pursuing romantic love is a waste of time
We grow up thinking that we’re supposed to be looking for “the one.” The problem is, most of us waste so much time looking that we end up sacrificing our own success and happiness in the process.
A much more reliable path to fulfillment lies in discovering what you love to do, and then finding a way to make a difference in the world through the use of that passion, either directly or indirectly.
My passion, for example, is storytelling. Everything I do is about investing in myself in terms of becoming a master storyteller, and using those stories to communicate valuable lessons I’ve learned throughout life in order to help others.
Stories such as the ones we get from books and movies last forever, and can touch an infinite number of lives. I get to touch others and experience love through the positive impact I can make, and the connections I make with people in the process. Simply the idea of that conjures in me a sense of meaning and purpose that brings me great joy every day of my life.
Pursue what makes you feel alive and connect with others deeply through that. And, if you find romantic love as a result of that, amazing. If not, you can still be happy and successful despite it.