Einstein and the Grinch: On Happiness and Success in 2011

Einstein once said, ?Not everything that can be counted counts?and not everything that counts can be counted.? Once again, the famous scientist was proving himself to be just as much a philosopher as a physicist.

But he was also leaving us with a conundrum of sorts. Einstein was asking a question we?ve all asked ourselves: should we focus on the things that can be measured, like the physical representations of success, or do we focus on what matters?

On the surface, it seems like an easy question. Most of us agree that family, health, community and relationships matter more than the physical trappings of wealth. But if the answer is so easy, why do we tend to focus on what can be counted, not what counts? Why do we trade our time for money? Our relationships for things?

Or to put it more simply: why do we put success before happiness?

Puzzling ?til Your Puzzler is Sore

Ironically, the problem is not that we?re after the wrong thing. We do want happiness. But, because we perceive many successful people as happy, we assume that the success must have led to the happiness.

It?s a classic logical fallacy, the result of which is that we wind up chasing material success as a route to happiness, not realizing that perhaps we?ve got things backwards.

After some chasing, though, we often reach a point where we become like the Grinch, puzzling as to why there doesn?t seem to be a link between physical success and happiness. We wonder how the Whos can be so happy with nothing, and we can be so miserable with everything.

If, like the Grinch, you find yourself puzzling until your puzzler is sore, wondering, perhaps, if happiness doesn?t come from a store, then here?s a single thought to take with you into 2011:

Perhaps true success and happiness aren?t a chicken and egg riddle. Maybe the secret doesn?t lie in figuring out which comes first. Maybe?just maybe?the secret lies in understanding that true success and happiness are one and the same.

All the best to you in 2011,