Apparently, as humans, we at our happiest and best when we are striving to attain some kind of goal in our lives. In other words, the journey is more fulfilling than the destination, and happiness tends to dissipate once we have reached our goal.
My husband and I have found this to be true in our own lives. We are constantly changing our goals. I said to him once, “No matter what we have in life, no matter what we achieve, it’ll never be enough. We’ll always want more. We are always happiest when we have something to work for.”
And that’s not because we are ungrateful. Not at all. I know how amazingly blessed I am to have a fantastic husband, and five gorgeous kids. I have health and vitality. And I don’t have any worries about money. The lack of contentment comes from achieving my goals. That sounds totally weird, doesn’t it? But think about it. The pleasure comes in the struggle to attain something. Once we have our dream, it loses its shine pretty quickly, and we find we are looking for something else to work towards.
It’s the same for everyone. How about the people climbing the career ladder? How many are really, really happy to stay at the bottom of their chosen career? And how many want to progress? How many are happy earning minimum wage? And how many want to earn more to improve the quality of their life? And who, having achieved a bit more in their careers, are happy to stay where they are for the rest of their life? Surely, after a year or two, boredom will set in, and they will need something new to work towards. Isn’t that the way we humans are wired?
For me, once I settle for what I have right in front of me, that’s when boredom and apathy set in. I always want something new to work for.
Maybe that’s why people look back with nostalgia at the ‘good old days’. They look back to the days when they were young and just starting out, penniless and living hand to mouth, and remember them with fondness. People often feel they were happiest in those days. Why? Perhaps because they had something to strive for. Because they were building a life for themselves. But once it’s built, and once they can pay their bills without a worry, what’s left? Then come the questions: “Is this it? Is this all there is to life? Was I just born to work and pay bills, and then die?” And dissatisfaction sets in.
So what can be done about it? Having a goal in life, is the same as having purpose. And purpose does not have to be all about oneself.
In fact, according to Napoleon Hill, we are happiest when we are serving others.
I listened to a talk by Jack Canfield, and he spoke about a friend of his who was earning huge amounts of money, but it wasn’t enough. So he earned more. That still wasn’t fulfilling, so he decided to buy whatever he wanted. Planes, houses, gadgets, anything. He still wasn’t happy. So he found a cause. He found something he wanted to do for free, to help others. And suddenly he had a reason to get out of bed in the mornings. A purpose.
The actor Jim Carrey said, “I wish that everyone could be rich and famous, and then they would see that it isn’t the answer.”
I agree. In my own life, I have found that having something to work towards, is what makes me the happiest, not already having everything. It’s hard wired into me to want to be striving to achieve a goal. And I’m sure I’m not unusual in that.
What do you think? Would you agree with this? And if you are bored and discontented, are there any new goals you can set for yourselves? Don’t be afraid to dream big. Dreaming big is good.
Hope you all have a great day. See you tomorrow!