Sustainable Prosperity
Aligning Spirit and the World of Form

Oh Happy, Where Are You?

If you’ll pardon my chutzpah, I’m willing to bet that the way you think of success is a lot like stepping on a garden hose and still expecting water to flow.

Do this one thing. Then, if your eyes don’t pop with a new understanding, stop reading.

Write down every form of success you’re chasing. (It’s part of being human—we all do the chasing.) Most folks have at least five (for example: meaningful career/work, fulfilling love relationships, a published book, art sold, a contest won, happy kids—you get the idea).

Go ahead—write down a few.


Okay, now circle which of these goals, or measures of success, would still feel like success if you attained them, yet you were unhappy.

How many did you circle?

Here’s my chutzpah again: I’ll wager the number is 0.

So, waddya think? Should happiness be a major component of your success?

Egos, because they are ego, only have limited responses to self-evident truths. Does your ego attempt to dismiss this idea of happiness being a major component of success with questions like, “What is happy anyway?” or “Who really is happy, after all?”

Notice how the above exercise isn’t obscured by any of the assertions ego poses on the elusive nature of happy. Just notice that.

Here’s another ego diversion: adopting unsustainable cultural ego qualities as measures of success.

That’s the world’s definition of success. You know—”If you have these things, and lots of them, you are successful: friends, money, status, things, status, attention, status, accolades, and status.”

Let’s say your talent is painting or writing. Ego says, “You must be Warhol or Hemingway.” Just to seem clever, Ego adds, “Of course, you must be the Warhol or Hemingway that is uniquely you.”

Aha. The Church Lady would say, “Isn’t that special?”

Notice how Ego doesn’t say, “You must be happy. Who cares who knows your name?” Notice how Ego ties your happiness with being known for something—as if you alone were not enough.

But there’s even more murky water when the ego defines success. Ego want to equate success with effectiveness.

Suppose you want to deliver clean water to tribes in the Sudan. The number of wells tapped and number of gallons provided is a measure of how effective your clean water initiative is. It’s not a measure of success. People with clean water can be miserable—especially if they have no food, no peace, and no hope. Consider how many folks with clean water in developed nations are miserable, too.

Ego wants desperately to equate effectiveness with success, especially in the realm of money. Ego says, “If I have a lot of money, I am successful.”

I won’t quote the plethora of studies that claim money isn’t a factor in happiness. I won’t lie and say that money isn’t a useful tool—just as clean water, food, and peace can be useful tools in building your success.

I am going to tell you success is measured by your happiness.

I am going to say that until you are happy, you will not be successful.


There’s only one road to success: the happy road.

There are two parts to it.

First, define and pursue the ways you can create in this world of form and maintain alignment with your spirit. I’ll repeat that. Create in alignment with the authentic you.

The second part is this: Only you will know when you are creating in alignment. The ability to create in alignment expands as you expand your Being. Ideally, you would be able to create anything and be fulfilled even if nobody knew your name. Your happiness is not predicated upon effectiveness; it’s predicated on your alignment with Spirit.

My chutzpah will wager your ego got stuck on that. Most do. So let’s go back to the beginning: Is happiness a major component of your definition of success?

Happy is about giving—giving of yourself for the pure ability and congruency with your authentic nature. It’s about the inside process of Spirit. It’s about recognizing this: You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t do what is in you to do.

Authentic manifestation is creating from the inside out.

Happiness is an inside job. We express our happiness through our actions—or we express what the false self, the ego self, believes would make us happy from the outside in. It’s one side of duality or the other.

When you maintain the criteria of making happiness your definition of success, you become freer of the world’s outside-in pressure. You no longer confuse effectiveness with success, or success with more of anything.

Let the water of happiness run freely through the garden hose—focus on your authentic happiness and watch success blossom.

How’d my chutzpah do?


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3 Responses to “Oh Happy, Where Are You?”

  1. avatar Sarah says:

    I really liked this! It seems so obvious, yet it has been so illusive for me. Thank you Karen!

  2. avatar Leigh says:

    Karen, I’m going to print this and begin every day reading it. Thank you. Thank you. XOXO

  3. avatar Mark says:

    Wonderful job Karen! As usual. 🙂