Are you happy?
Immediately upon reading this question, you will be thrown into a turmoil.
- You start pondering about recent happenings, and whether there is any cause for happiness
- You think about all the past events – either it may be your success in education or job, marriage, birth or something that delighted you
- You even think about your current goals that WILL make you the happiest person in this part of the known universe
All this is typical human behavior.
Unfortunately, all this is just the wrong notion of happiness.
What is wrong with pursuing happiness?
You are taught from time immemorial to set your sights on “becoming successful”. You set goals for yourself in order to achieve this happiness.
Goals are necessary to plan your life. They help you remain motivated about today, and to make plans for tomorrow.
But, what a lot of us tend to do is treat goals as the pre-requisite for happiness.
The problem is this “goal-based happiness”.
Let’s say you have the goal to earn five million dollars in three years.
You plan each step of the way to take steps towards your goal. You outline what you want to do every month for the next three years. You work really hard to earn, save, and earn some more.
If you are like the majority, you will also postpone today’s happiness. You justify that by thinking that as a necessary sacrifice for the tremendous joy of success waiting in the future.
And one fine day, you reach that five million magic number.
You are delighted that all your hard work has paid off. You pat your back for being focused, party a bit, share happiness with your near and dear, and feel exhilarated about living.
After two weeks, the achievement does not get you the same “kick”. You start drawing a bigger picture. Yes, you did “it”. And now, it is time to move on.
You just shift your goal posts. You now want ten million, a bigger house, a bigger car, or anything else that rocks your boat.
Goals give a purpose to life. By all means dedicate yourself towards that purpose. Strive towards your set objectives and get a kick out of achieving them. But, tagging your happiness to achievement will rid you of the joy of today.
You become too busy thinking about how happy or sad you will be with those goals. It is too easy to get worried about each passing moment and wondering whether that time has helped towards your objectives. You want to “postpone happiness” until the goal is achieved.
By doing that you fail today regardless of the success or failure that is tomorrow. You plan and measure your journey but don’t live in it.
Find happiness in the journey
This life is lived every moment.
You can spend “this moment” happy that you are inching towards your goal and excited about what life is teaching you now. Or, you could spend it in anxiety about success or failure and make that your life.
Targeting happiness at the end of achievement of a goal is horribly short-lived. It does give your moment of “true happiness” but sadly that lasts only moments. The real joy is to be found in the journey.
“Today” is a joyous occasion –
- since you succeeded
- you failed and learnt a valuable lesson
- you made small progress towards your goals or set the bar higher due to changing situations
Any or all of this make up your today and that’s what you got now. Learn to enjoy them, cherish them, and live them.
Condition yourself to be happy while you journey towards your defined successes. You enjoy your life better by tuning in today rather than planning that for some future day.