The notion of pursuing happiness with happiness being firmly rooted in the future is just plain wrong.
When asked the question - “are you happy” / “when were you happy”, what is will be your reaction?
- You start thinking about recent developments and any minor/major event that brought happiness
- You think of all the past events – success in education or in your job, marriage, birth or something that delighted you
- You think about your current goals and how achieving them is key for your happiness
I am more concerned about the mind state of the last question.
While goals are necessary to plan your life and help you remain motivated about today & the next day, an end-state happiness can be a mirage.
Let’s say you have the goal to earn five million dollars in three years. You plan each step of the way, execute the plan by putting in the hard work, save money, earn more money and earn some more. And, one final day you have all that money. You are delighted that all your hard work has paid off. You pat your back for being focused, party a bit, and feel exhilarated about living.
After two weeks, the achievement does not get you the same “kick” to your daily life. You start drawing a bigger picture. Yes, you did “it”. But now, it is time to move on & shift goal posts - 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.
Don’t “postpone happiness” until a goal is achieved. The current moment while working towards a goal, or just being yourself is a happy thing too. The real joy is is in the journey.
“Today” is a joyous occasion –
- since you succeeded in checking off one task from your list of ten thousand items
- you failed and learnt a valuable lesson
- you saw the joy in the sunrise and in the call of a bird near you
Condition yourself to be happy while you journey towards your defined successes. That’s worth living for.