It is a lovely sunny evening as I write this post. The sky is blue. The birds are busy singing and enjoying their evening feed from the bird box. We are entering the fourth week of the lockdown due to Covid-19.
I have just picked one of my old journals and read a post that I wrote on Tuesday 27th of October 2017.
At the time of writing the post, I was enjoying a working/holiday break in Cape Town. The post was called ‘Striving But Never Arriving’
How apt that I should open my old journal to read the post I wrote way back in 2017.
The post went on to say this:
So many people live their lives in pursuit of happiness.
For a moment just close your eyes and think about those words. If you live your life in pursuit of happiness you will never find it. It will always be ahead of you. You will be striving but never arriving.
The post went on to tell the story of a friend of mine.
One evening we were enjoying a drink together and he looked a little stressed a little anxious. I asked him what made him happy?
Now before I share with you the answer my friend gave me I should explain that he worked in a very goal orientated environment. There is nothing wrong with setting goals. However, my question is this does achieving the goal make you happy? If the answer is yes, how long does that happiness last or is it actually the pleasure of achieving something and not happiness at all?
Back to my friend. The answer he gave me was this:
Friend: What makes me happy and means I have a great weekend is the fact that I have hit my week’s sales target.
Me: What kind of weekend do you have if you have missed your sales target?
Friend: Not great. I am grumpy and rather miserable.
Me: So when you are happy how long does that happiness last?
Friend: I am not sure what you mean.
Me: How long does the happiness last before you begin another week of pursuing happiness and aiming to hit another target?
Friend: Until Monday morning I guess when I start a new week.
The treadmill continued. Constantly chasing the next target. Striving but never arriving at a true place of happiness.
At no point did my friend consider any other way of happiness such as:
Feeling satisfied and fulfilled.
Living a life of meaning and purpose.
A feeling of contentment.
Having what you have rather than having what you want.
I phoned my friend a couple of days ago to ask how he was.
Like many he and his wife have been furloughed. He mentioned that they were enjoying spending time together. Enjoying afternoon walks. Appreciating what they had. Noticing things around them. They felt peace and contentment.
The situation we are all experiencing is a time to reflect. To think about the things that are really important.
Happiness is not chasing things. Happiness is appreciating the things you have.
Maybe my friend has stopped striving. Maybe he has arrived.
Be Happy-Be Inspired.