Satisfaction vs. Success

Are you chasing success at the expense of satisfaction? Wondering whether you ought to be working harder than you are? Here’s our take on balancing ambition and wellbeing while giving big dreams and simple pleasures their due.

This week on The Living Experiment, we’re talking about Satisfaction vs. Success — the sometimes surprising tensions that can exist between our pursuit of those two goals, and the ways we can redefine both in the service of our own health and happiness.

In a world where it can seem like everybody on your social feeds is oozing wealth and glamour, it’s easy to feel like you should be keeping up somehow — striving harder, achieving more.

At the same time, slogging away at a dead-end job or a feeling stuck in a not-quite-right career can also be a soul-crushing endeavor.

So here, we talk about our own relationship with our work and our ambitions, and we share the insights and open questions that we’re still exploring in establishing our own definitions of a life well-lived.

Finally we offer you some experiments to help you experience more satisfaction and success in your own life.

“Satisfaction vs. Success” Episode Highlights

  • First, a listener question: Following up on our “Sleep” episode, an inquiry about how electromagnetic frequencies (like Wi-Fi) can influence our sleep patterns and health
  • Then, Satisfaction vs. Success and the complex dynamics we encounter in pursuing them both
  • Do you really need to “go big or go home?”
  • Why our society’s definition of success often presents barriers to satisfaction, and how to overcome those obstacles
  • The importance of connection with others, the pursuit of a higher purpose, and goals built on our personal values
  • How our fear of disapproval and uncertainty keeps us stuck
  • Noticing and expanding on the little things that make us feel good
  • The lure of “The Hustle” — and how not to get hustled yourself
  • The value of questioning the notion that the harder we work, the more we’ll achieve

Sit down and ask yourself what you’re hungry for — more time, fun, beauty, sleep, whatever — and trust your first answer. Then find 5-10 minutes each day to create some small version of that experience as a way of practicing getting more of what you want. Notice any resistance or excuses: Those are probably the obstacles that are preventing you from obtaining satisfaction on a larger scale.

Assess something in your life that is causing you distress, irritation or discontent and ask yourself if it will matter in a year. Trust what comes up first.

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