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Happy Failure

Posted May 16th, 2014 at 04:23 PM by Sylvano the Wasabus
“He’s not at all stupid. He’s just one of the usual unhappy successes.”
“Most successes are unhappy. That’s why they are successes- they have to reassure themselves about themselves by achieving something that the world will notice.”
“What extraordinary ideas you have, Anthony.”
“You’ll find they’re quite true if you only examine them. The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don’t give a damn like me. They are also usually agreeable to get on with- again like me.”
From Sparkling Cyanide, 1945, Agatha Christie

It’s an interesting idea, don’t you think? Though it’s not always true, but there is certainly some truth in there.

Not all failures are happy people. Some are honest to goodness failures, who have tried things and screwed them up. Or fate stuck its ugly hand in and tripped them. But then there are all sorts of people who one might label underachievers. I remember in high school this brilliant and beautiful girl stunned everyone, especially the teachers, by announcing she was not going to university but was going to be a waitress at a golf course. She even explained it- she knew what made her happy. She wanted to be happy. The job wasn’t too taxing and she’d be able to do what she wanted with her life. Happy, but a failure in other people’s eyes.

Different people seem to have different capacities for happiness. Some people can be very happy, others never. People tend to judge a person’s success by a societal yardstick. Do you make a lot of money? Nice car? Vacations? Expensive clothes? Big house? I fail at all of those, but I am extremely happy. The things that bring me joy are things in my life like hanging with my kids, gardening, playing.... the list goes on and on. Work is just an inconvenience.

I’m sure there are some very happy successes too; people who are doing what they love to do and doing well at it. Admittedly I haven’t met very many of them, but I’m sure there are some. I remember reading about a couple of lottery winners who were inconvenienced by their new wealth so they just gave it all away. They had fun doing it too, it made them happy. For them happy was more important than dollar signs.

For a while I worked with a guy who had been a big business man. He had tried to walk away, take it slow. He was trying to hang out with a bunch of us failures. The guy was a real dealer and he couldn’t stop trying to make deals about everything. He didn’t last long- he just couldn’t take it easy. He went back to the big city to chase deals. He seemed unhappy either way.

I have met driven people and have elements of drive in my self- to do more, to achieve more, to conquer. There’s no happy there, only the illusion of achieving it with the next success. But once you arrive, the success is empty. So what? A new goal pops up and off you go chasing it. You can be very successful but the motivator, the engine behind it is unhappiness.

I have had more than 35 jobs in my life. I cannot say that I am a doctor or a dog breeder. I could attach a title to myself, but it would fall far short. I am me, not a this or that. It’s terrible for small talk. I can’t count the number of frustrated chatters who ask “what do you do?” and i answer “whatever I want.” No, they insist, what do you do in life? Whatever I want. Isn’t life more important than work?

I admit that some people manage to find a job that is amazing for them. My sweetie is a teacher and she loves it. It is the perfect job for her. She’s happy to say “I teach.” But me, it’s not so easy to explain. I’m a happy failure.

How about you? Success, failure, happy, or frustrated like gum in the hair?
Total Comments 4


flameslayer93's Avatar
I'm mostly considered a wash-out. Or a stoner to some people (not that I smoke lol).

Posted May 16th, 2014 at 09:52 PM by flameslayer93 flameslayer93 is offline
Tornado's Avatar
"The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don’t give a damn like me. They are also usually agreeable to get on with- again like me.
This sounds like me. Thanks for sharing.
Sparkling Cyanide is a super sweet title.
Posted May 18th, 2014 at 01:38 PM by Tornado Tornado is offline
Happiness is a choice, not a destination.

As always...well written Sylvano.
Posted May 21st, 2014 at 07:03 PM by AMIS AMIS is offline
Updated May 21st, 2014 at 07:04 PM by AMIS (Because happiness is an editing box...for those who know me.)
'Scaper94's Avatar
I agree with AMIS in that happiness is indeed a choice. Most of the time I'm very happy, which others notice and have commented on. When they ask why, I tell them it's because I hate feeling sad and/or angry. Simple as that.

Currently I'm attending college, majoring in music composition. How many people have told me and will tell me that I won't have much of a job or make much money? A lot of people. But I don't care all that much. I know it's a slippery career to go into. But it makes me happy when I write music. And I want to share my music with others. That's what makes me happy.
Posted May 21st, 2014 at 09:10 PM by 'Scaper94 'Scaper94 is offline
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