Success and Happiness

March 11, 2013 in , Explaining Adam , Interviews by Adam Dunlap

A few days ago, a former Parkour student of mine interviewed me on the phone for school. The topic was “success and happiness.” After the interview I asked him if he could send me the questions so I could write responses to them for my site. Here is the result of that.

#1. In your own words define success.
Success is being happy with who you are and happy with where you are going in life.

#2. In your own words define happiness.
Happiness is a state of feeling a strong positive emotion that often physical manifests through smiling, laughter, and an overall good feeling.

#3. What are some ways to be success in your life?
Focus on the present. Be in the now, not in the past or the future where there is regret and anxiousness. Also, take responsibility for who you are and where you are in life.

#4. Identify 5 personality traits that you feel are important for success and happiness.
Being successful and happy is more about getting rid of personality traits that keep you from being that. Granted, there are different types of success and happiness. Being financially successful, for example, has specific traits associated with it. But overall success as I defined above, is more about getting rid of the road blocks, more than it is about searching for and finding a path. Your nature is to be happy and successful, it’s part of who you are. Five traits to consciously stray away from so you can uncover that are:

  • Anxiousness
  • Regret
  • Anger
  • Jealousy
  • Pride

#5. Identify health risks that could affect your success or happiness.
Smoking and drinking. Eating poorly. If you’re not healthy and if you don’t feel physically well, then it’s going to be difficult to be happy with who you are and happy with where you are going.

#6. What do you do when you experience setbacks or problems?
I go to sleep! No, but really. If setbacks are really big then the way I have to handle them is to go to sleep. When there are big problems at hand then I’ve found that going to sleep helps me because I tend to wake up with either the answer to the problem or, at least, the right perspective on the issue.

If a setback/problem is not huge, then I get through it by focusing on the present and what I can do in the moment to solve/circumvent the issue. We can only do what we can do. So I do what I can and I don’t worry about the rest. In that way I’m focusing on the present and seeing the issue as another challenge not a “setback” or “problem” which seemingly grows bigger if I extrapolate it to the future.

In the past, setbacks were often really debilitation for me. Especially the big ones; things like people threatening to sue me, people stealing from me, website malfunctions which brought my company to a halt, friends turning on me, and people not understanding me and blowing things out of proportion. Those things cost me days of my life, literally! But once you successfully navigate large setbacks you emerge stronger and it then takes bigger and bigger problems to unhinge you. Plus, once that is done the smaller setbacks just slide right off your back and they don’t even bother you anymore which is how most things feel to me now.

#7. What advice would you give young people to help them be successful or happy in life?
Follow your dreams. I’ve always believed that the dreams and passions that each person has are their cue for their destiny. I used to call it God’s method of control because I saw it as his way to give us free will but still instill in us a direction for our lives. Today, not much has changed in that belief, except that I believe even more that following your dreams is the key to being who you are and who you were made to be, and thus the key to happiness and success. If you follow your dreams there’s no telling where you will end up in life. But I don’t think life is about the destiny as much as it’s about the journey.

#8. What have been positive influences in your life?
There are too many to name. My parents, obviously. They were very positive influences for me. Other than that I always looked to what I call “The Greats” – the people in history that stood out to me as the best in what they did. I draw from their perspective, methods, and views on life and try to incorporate them into my life and perspective and the way I live and pursue my goals. That group is select number of about 10 individuals that is made up of spiritual teachers, performers, athletes, business man, musicians, and actors. Without knowing it they have imparted a lot of positivity to me that has shaped who I am and how I see the world.