Success Is Your Enemy If You Want Happiness

success is your enemy

What’s your plan after you become successful? One person that didn’t have a plan was Casey Neistat after he and his brother had made it.

Casey and his brother Van Neistat sold their TV series The Neistat Brothers to HBO in 2008. But HBO didn’t air that show until 2010. Between 2008 and 2010, Casey did nothing. In his video ‘My Biggest Failure’ he says:

“In those two years, I did nothing. I did nothing because I had “made” it. I sold my show, something I made, to the biggest, baddest, TV channel in the business. I had made it. Then they aired the show. I honestly expected my whole life to be different. But the truth is nothing changed.”

We all have experienced that feeling some way. I remember when I got my master’s degree in 2011. I thought I was the man because I was the first person in my family to get a postgrad.

In my mind, I was successful, but next thought was “what now?” The two years after I graduated, I thought I knew it all, and ended up learning way less than I could have.

I became comfortable — I thought that my life from that point on would be easy. I spent years studying. I wanted to reap the benefits: Get an awesome job, earn some money, live the good life.

I fell victim to my success. Getting a master’s degree was a big deal to me and I thought I didn’t have to learn anymore. But learning is not something you just do in school. You learn for life.

Most of us think that success is the ultimate answer to life. Recently I met a former classmate at a party. He said he was close to making it at work: “If I get this promotion, I’m in. That’s money in the bank. Probably a new company car.”

I said: “Then what?” He looked at me like I didn’t hear his story about his nearing promotion. To him, the promotion was his end game. He worked hard for three years, day and night, even weekends, to get it. He had no clue what was next. He thought he could put his career in cruise control now.

After achieving something (no matter how big), you enter a big black hole of comfort if you don’t watch yourself. If you think that all the hard work is behind you, you’re in danger. Don’t expect that because you busted your ass for years to achieve something, that you made it.

Look ahead, when do you think you’ve made it? Do you want to win an Olympic medal? Run a marathon? Make a million dollars? Get married? Write a NYT best-seller?

What’s your plan after you become successful? Relax? Coast through life? What’s that good for? Instead, shift your focus from achieving short-term or long-term goals, to living a successful life. Play the long game — live a virtuous life.

“You never actually make it. There is never any making it.”
– Casey Neistat

You might never make it in life, but does that mean you should give up altogether? After all, what’s the destination? I say screw the destination. It’s about the ride in.

Chase your dreams. Become rich. Start a family. Get an awesome job. But never, ever, get complacent.

Always keep pushing yourself. Keep growing. Because your enemy, success, is right around the corner trying to seduce you into getting comfortable.

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