Have you ever achieved a long-held goal and still felt less than happy about it—or even felt a bit of emptiness inside? Many of us have experienced this, and it has to do with the two different paradigms of success, one driven by the ego and the other inspired by the soul. Only soul-inspired success brings deep and lasting happiness, what I call being “happy for no reason.”

How do you access that soul-success?

There are two basic energies in the universe: expansion and contraction. Expansion is the energy of the soul or the big Self—the essence of who we are. When we move with the energy of expansion, we experience greater joy, light, truth, freedom and ease. Contraction is the energy of the ego, the limited personality or small self. The ego believes there is much to be feared and resists what is.

While success driven by the ego may bear certain fruits, including money, fame or status, it’s never deeply fulfilling and it comes with a price: we lose a bit of our soul.

Ego-driven success is based on the myth of more: the more you have, the happier you’ll be. This just isn’t so. A reporter once asked Andrew Carnegie, the great steel magnate, “How much is enough?” Carnegie thought for a moment and replied, “Just a little more.”

On the other hand, success that’s inspired by the soul may also bear those outer fruits, such as money and status, but doesn’t have the side effects that are so prevalent in our achievement-driven culture: stress, burn-out, overwhelm and depression.

Soul-inspired success comes from inner passion. It is your soul seeking expression. It’s characterized by flow, synchronicity and openness. Success beyond belief comes from living outside the realm of beliefs—beyond the mind and its limited concepts of what “should be”—and enjoying the gifts that each moment brings.

Living in the expanding world of the soul is like living from the inside out, from a place of inner knowing and trusting. Eckhart Tolle says he experienced a big shift in his life when he no longer asked the question, “What do I want from life?” but rather asked himself, “What does life want from me?”

In the past, success defined by our beliefs has dominated our collective experience. We are now opening to a new invitation: to expand beyond ego driven-success, into a fresh paradigm of inspiration from the soul that brings true success and fulfillment. This is what we are on the planet for: to be happy for no reason.

MARCI SHIMOFF is an inspirational speaker, coauthor of
Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul and Chicken Soup
for the Mother’s Soul and author of Happy for No Reason.