Happiness Is Success

happiness-whistle-while-you-workI’ve said it for years; it’s as true now as it was then, as it has been since the Creation. Humans were made to work. We were designed to sweat and labor and do. There is an indescribable satisfaction in hard work. I believe that nothing else can make us feel as truly alive as getting outside and putting our backs into it. Whatever it is. Yard work, building a shed, painting the fence, building a house, digging a ditch, cutting down a tree, whatever. Far too many people treat work as a dirty word, but it’s not. It’s a beautiful thing to do what we were made for. It brings a happiness that few things can match.

Last week, I worked the hardest I have ever worked in my life. We had a huge dying tree in front of our house that needed to come down. About 200 years old, 70+ feet tall, 5 feet in diameter. Three days of running a chainsaw and hauling branches and logs. I was sore and tired and sunburned, but I was happy. I had almost forgotten that level of happiness existed. I just feel so alive, it’s unreal. It has satisfied the primal need to work that we all possess.

I work a blue-collar job, so hard work is the norm for me. I love it; I couldn’t work an office job if you offered me all the money in the world. It would drive me insane. Literally. For years, we have been sold the lie that, to succeed, you have to get a college degree and pursue a white-collar career. And yes, for some people, that is true. But the sheer number of people who hate their jobs and are dissatisfied with their lives would indicate that maybe it’s not true for everyone. Success is not measured in diplomas or income or material possessions – or at least it shouldn’t be. Success is living a life you love. Whether you are a mechanic making $40,000 a year or a surgeon bringing in $500,000, what difference does it make? Success is not money, success is happiness.

As a kid, I was incredibly blessed to have parents who understood that. My Daddy worked in construction and Mama was a full-time mother. Six kids to feed and clothe, and construction doesn’t pay the big bucks. But you know what? I cannot remember ever being worried about where our next meal was coming from or where we were gonna live. I never thought of us as poor, even though, looking back, I can see that we were. We had a beautiful childhood, one that any kid could envy. We never bought brand-new clothes, we never had the coolest toys, but one thing we did have. Love. We were happy. Mama and Daddy loved us, we loved each other; we are still an incredibly close family. No, we’re not perfect, but it is a beautiful feeling to know that there are people you can always count on to have your back. Success is not working long hours to make more money, success is building a strong happy family and living a life that you love.