The Secret to Happiness Is in Our Differences

There is no universal career satisfaction cure.

No magic formula. No pill. No audio self-help series or celebrity-endorsed product.

Any book, blog, video series, or speaker that claims to have a silver bullet answer to: “How to become happier” or “how to increase job satisfaction” will fail because they are asking the wrong the question. Instead of asking: “how are we similar”; we should be asking: “how are we different?”  

Ask: How are my life circumstances, values, priorities, (which all lead to happiness) different?


Looking back at the Perfect Career Diagram, each circle in the Venn diagram is going to look different AND be a different size. Your Lowest Livable Lifestyle is going to be different from your co-workers and neighbors. The skills you want to develop are going to be unique to your interests and goals. And your purpose may align with one company for a few years until you find a better match, elsewhere.

When you look for the differences, you discover your personal balance: the place where you connect with what you’re doing. It’s like doing yoga poses; your center of gravity is different from the person next to you. If you did EXACTLY what they did, you would fall over. Because life and career satisfaction isn’t about finding the next thing that will make you happy or doing the exact same thing your star co-worker is doing; it’s about finding the balance that will give you sustainable happiness throughout the entirety of your life. 

There are no universal fixes. What we do have are tools and models. Using them together, you will find your perfect level of happiness and the exact factors (and in which quantity) that will lead you to your ideal level of career satisfaction.

This means, you need to do some work… which, I know doesn’t sell. However, the truth is, if you want results, you have to be willing to grab the rope I’m tossing you by actually picking up your pen and putting it to the page. These tools and models only work if you are willing to put in the work.

More than luck,



Andrew J. Wilt is the author of Age of Agility, a book that addresses the skill gap between school and work. He can be reached at and on Twitter @andrewjwilt

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