Show of hands, who wants to be happy?
Ok, well… it appears everyone wants to be happy! The next question is more difficult. Are you actually happy? Like right now, are you happy?
If not, why the hell not? If so, how did you pull that off?
To me it seems like happiness is the carrot at the end of the stick…we are all chasing it but, it doesn’t seem to get closer.
Someday’s I get some carrot, most days I get more stick… It seemed like the more I worked, the more I bought, and happiness stayed just out of reach.
Yet, I continued running on the hamster wheel, sprinting harder and harder because if I work harder, damn it I’ll be happy…
and yet, I still haven’t achieved long lasting happiness.
Disclaimer: I’ve been incredibly lucky in my life.
First off, I married up. She’s smart, kind, beautiful, and hard working. I have been promoted several times into a well-paying job that allows me to work from home.
I own all the “things” that I want, and still, I feel wildly annoyed Monday through Friday. Why is it so hard to achieve long lasting happiness?
Is it even possible to be happy, or are we brought up to falsely believe that the process of working, earning money, and spending money will allow us to achieve the mythical beast know as happiness?
Happiness doesn’t appear to be a linear destination. Starting at point A and making it to point B doesn’t guarantee happiness.
At least, not in my experience. I graduated from nursing school, obtained a good job and started working. That first job allowed me to get my first apartment, my first car, my first credit card and a whole bunch of new “stuff”.
I went from working part time at a hardware store, to full-time as a Registered Nurse… and I had less money!! What. The. Hell?
Was I happy?
Hell no, I was stressed out and broke!! I made it to point B and it was freaking TERRIBLE!
So, what gives? How do I find “happiness”? Will flipping the bird to [Soul Sucking Healthcare Corp] create long lasting happiness?
According to Harvard social psychologist Daniel Gilbert (also known as Professor Happiness), “we can’t predict how we’d react in the future, we can’t set realistic goals for ourselves or figure out how to reach to them”. Happiness is a dynamic emotion, not a linear destination.
I know this much… working in Corporate America is certainly not something I’m passionate about. I hate it. I hate the politics, I hate the mindless work and I hate not feeling like I’m making a difference anymore.
Honestly, I could care less if [Company Initiative #2847] succeeds. They make billions and complain it’s not enough every quarter. BILLIONS!
When I had to lay off 25% of my hardworking, dedicated staff it changed me and shattered my dreams and aspirations of moving further and further up in the company.
My self-worth was built through my career achievements. I felt safe, I felt secure.
Now, I’m sitting here pondering my future and what I can do to really make a difference in the world.
What The Hell Do I Do Now?
On that cold winter day, I realized this company didn’t really care about me. They would chew me up and spit me out to save a dime.
My wife and I were a few months shy of paying off our consumer debt. I had a few thousand dollars of liquid cash to my name.
I felt helpless… and I realized that I didn’t have control over my life. Talk about a terrible feeling… and I haven’t been able to shake it after almost 7 months.
Our goal to walk away from our careers with [Giant Joy Stealing Corp] isn’t going to make us “happy”. It will provide us the opportunity to enjoy the best parts of our days, during the best years of our lives.
Hell, more time with my wife… that makes me very happy.