Happiness Vs Outcome-Orientation

Is there a conflict between these two?

This interesting question has been raised by a close friend in response to the series of posts that talk about the benefits of being Outcome-Oriented

I don’t think so.

Happiness is not the absence of troubles.  It is the attitude we possess towards such situations.  So, if the CEO does not meet me in spite of several requests, I don’t fret and fume about it.  I don’t curse my luck or my abilities.  I simply accept that such failures are to be expected and rework the way forward.

A laser like focus on Outcomes does lead to discomfort.  But we have the choice to treat such discomfort as part of life, rather an opportunity to grow.

Easier said than done, however!

We are habituated to losing happiness when things don’t go our way.  We try very hard to look for external reasons for our failures and generate negative emotions.  Or worse, we whip ourselves for it – even more harmful.

For me, spirituality and meditation has been the way.  It helped me get over my failures.  It has helped me bring the right attitude to my shortcomings and be comfortable with my imperfections.

These days, I first choose the area of discomfort I want to tackle and then choose the appropriate project.

I think each individual has to find the way for himself.  This is a deeply personal process of search and growth.

It would be interesting to hear from you on what you tried and what has worked for you.


12 responses to this post.

  1. There is no conflict, we do enjoy playing Golf or tennis as a sport. We enjoy even though we do not always win, the fun of living life is to play it like sports, enjoy participating and be thankful that we have a chance to participate. Enjoy the failures too, these are part of life, no one can win all the time, how so ever great, but if focus is shifted to enjoying the game then playing the game itself is a reward ! I am now starting to write a blog on happiness, you are welcome to visit and comment. http://deekshaa.com/2011/08/life-happiness/



  2. To action alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction.
    – Verse 47, Chapter 2-Samkhya theory and Yoga practise, The Bhagavadgita [17]

    When you work like this you neither fail nor succeed – you are simply happy to be working!


  3. I was scared of getting religious texts into this blog, but I am glad to see this comment.


  4. Posted by Madhu on August 16, 2011 at 10:10 am

    “I think each individual has to find the way for himself. This is a deeply personal process of search and growth”. I totally agree with this. My way to cross hurdles is refuse religion. “Tuch ahe tujha shilpkar”. No fate, no luck , no god( if someone called god exists) can make or break your plans. This attitude gives me strength to just move on.


    • I couldn’t agree more.


    • One thing I do wonder about though is this: For some people the power of motivational self-talk is good enough to propel them towards a positive approach. For others, this is not good enough. Deeper exercises in self understanding helps. For yet others, nothing seems to change them. Why this difference?


      • Posted by Krishna Iyer on August 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm

        A good answer to the question posted above is something I found in the book ‘Change Anything’. It says that personal motivation (self talk) is only one of the six sources of influence. For some peer pressure (another source of influence) may work. For some others, change in the physical environment will work. For some, learning some skills may be the turning point to change. For some, social environment changing may be the key. For some motivation arising out change in the environment may be helpful (the latest corruption crusade in India is good example). For readers who have not read the book, immediately understanding the six sources of influence may be a little difficult. For now, it is sufficient to say that the key is to use all six sources of influence if you wan to guarantee personal and organizational change. Here is some more information about the book and the authors:

        Krishna Iyer
        CEO, ZenTEST Labs

      • Apologies, I somehow missed this comment earlier Krishna

        I am looking at this closely and will read up in the next few days. Krishna, can you please contribute your post on the topic?

  5. Posted by girish shanbhag on August 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    My thoughts about life.
    1. Happiness means not being unhappy. So keep the remote control of your mind only in your hand.
    2. You need to be ambitious and have goals and expectations in life to achieve, however the process of achieving them should make you happy and not the result. You need to enjoy each step towards the goal ( it could be positive or negative)
    3. You also need to be perfect in your life however in case if you could not so be it, there is always a next time.
    4. There will be problems in your life, so problem management is the biggest mantra of life.
    5. While doing all this we need to ensure we remain as human being 🙂 first and then “Do Good” (rather than feel good or look good).
    I remain conscious in implementing this however not yet successful 🙂


  6. Posted by Niranjan Sundram on August 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I fully agree and do believe that meditation and spirituality have all the answers to inner happiness.


  7. Niranjan, Girish would love to have your posts on this topic.


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