What success looks like


Just now for the briefest of moments I felt like Malcolm Gladwell or Stephen Levitt. I unwittingly conducted a social experiment which told me way more than I expected.

The experience was such a success I’ve parked the blog I had lined up and gone for a playful theme.

I’ve actually found what success looks like and at the same time discovered that it looks nothing like happiness.

How did I do this?

Well, learning from the better blogs around, including the crafty blogs my wonderful wife follows (like Sew Liberated, Tiny Happy) I realised I needed to put a bit more life into my blog with images and colour, try to show that I have both imagination and style, and perhaps even a little bit of soul.

I went looking for free images on the web and found this site which appealed due to its curious name MorgueFILE.

So what did I search for?

I started with “growth”, “flying”, “learning”.

Mostly these were hohum results but I started to get an idea so I did two consecutive searches:

* Happy

* Success

And the result:


showed page after page of children, flowers, trees, fountains, more flowers, love hearts.


had page after page of bank notes, American dimes and silver dollars.

I’m still laughing out loud.

Is society really that strongly conditioned?

Surely happiness is success?

And maybe that is the clue right there.

Happiness is success, but success, as society traditionally measures it, is not happiness.

Indeed it is the tension between happiness and the traditional notion of success which tears at us much of the time.

For they are intertwined. Probably the original and enduring chicken and egg dilemma.

How do you work with this tension?

What does each mean to you?

I’d like to know…


3 Replies to “What success looks like”

  1. Happiness and success. What a concept. For me they are inseparable. In an organizational setting for success to occur, people need to be happy first. I bet that’s not measured very often. It should be because it’s THE most influentilal and pivotal ingredient in organizational success. People need to be happy. It’s a no brainer if you stop and think about it. People need to be connected to environments. To spark, you must care. To care means you need to be positively enfranchised…..heaven forbid, even wowed ! You need to feel part of something. To be actively engaged in what you’re doing. In other words showing some passion, some verve, some vida ! Too many people have failed to grasp that life is short. Success as this blog has pointed out is seen as part of business. I think in a way that is fair enough, however surely the key KPI for being successful in business is happiness.

    1. Thanks Jim for your typically astute contribution. Is their a business you know with a KPI of happiness – or do we just have to imagine it (other than in our own businesses of course!). You can find Jim on Hothouse

  2. Bhutan measures Gross National Happiness and French Prime Minister Sarkozy ( Now give us a Prime Minister like that please )wants to measure it. In 2009 he asked US economist Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel economics prize and a critic of free-market economists, and Armatya Sen of India, who won the 1998 Nobel Prize for work on developing countries, to come up with the new measures. Two Nobel prize winners no less and it’s not even Rocket science. It’s simply a change in priorities….isn’t it ? Even those Ivy League boys are looking into it. What blows me away is why this incredibly simple concept ( Happiness) is so hard for people to get their heads around. Don’t worry be happy…..the song is on the money don’t you think ?

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Il blog (allargato) di Marco Angeletti

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