I am a generation 1.5 immigrant to the US, having come when I was just shy of four years old; as such, I grew up surrounded by immigrant culture, with the requisite drive to succeed. “Success,” here, being defined as monetary and consumer success: work hard, go to college, make lots of money (preferably as a doctor), have the physical trappings of consumerist success. It’s taken me a long time to start looking for happiness first, but I now firmly believe that the most important thing is happiness, not material success – and that striving for material success gets in the way of happiness.
However, that’s not to say that lazing about all day is the goal. In fact, it turns out that happy people produce more and better. If you haven’t seen this TEDTalk, I highly recommend taking 12 minutes to watch it:
A society full of happy people, working enough to meet their needs (both material and emotional), may not produce more than this go-go-go society we have in the US, but it’s certainly a more fulfilling one. But, even if you don’t subscribe to my theory, it turns out that focusing on becoming happy first and successful second will make you more successful in the long run, anyway.