“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
~ John Lennon
This famous quote by John Lennon probably encapsulates everything you need to know about success. Happiness is the only significant metric you can use to measure how successful your life is. However, it is important not to get bogged down in the vague definitions of such over-hyped words as “love” and “happiness”. My intention is to get to the very essence of these definitions and come up with formulations that would give maximum practicality to someone who seeks clarity of thoughts and freedom in application.
“Right away there’s a problem because, academically speaking, happiness is a meaningless term. You cannot measure happiness. It’s really a composite of things: health, emotions, the way you evaluate life, and the extent to which you’re living out the values”
~ Dan Buettner
Happiness is an illusion.
The word “happiness” itself triggers the associations of a happy tomorrow, a bright future that everyone believes is coming, yet no one knows when. We are certain we will be happy. Someday. That’s the delusional aura of the word “happiness” — an underlying unexplainable longing for something distant that follows this word like a shadow. Perceiving the word “happiness” in such a way is a mind trap.
Happiness exists in the present moment
Here and Now or it doesn’t exist at all.
Happiness doesn’t dwell in the memories of the days long passed or dreams about the days to come. You won’t find it there if that’s where you go to search. In this sense, happiness is an evasive illusion.
Once you place happiness in the mental coordinates of the future it instantly stops being a thing you can control. Your happiness enters the domain of the abstract. Contrarily, the present moment always remains the domain of practical where factors that define your happiness are actionable and certain actions lead to tangible results.
Your experience of the present moment is as close as you will ever get to happiness. That is the truth.
“Follow your passion!”
How many times did you hear this phrase? Has it ever actually helped you? I doubt it because following your passion teaches you a lesson along the way. Passion fades away. It expires. Follow your passion? Bullshit.
Don’t follow your passion.
Follow your effort.
The only way to fall in love with what you do is to execute and stay committed to the execution and that is the truth that few people refuse to admit. Love for your work is the result of an investment.
You’ve got to put in the hard work.
You engage in a new endeavor because there is a spark, you like the feelings it gives you. You like the idea of doing it and the way it finds resonance in your heart. You open the door of the new vocation, step in, and stay to see what is going to happen next. Days go by, you invest your time. You grind, you fail, you put in loads of work. You become good at it. You become better. And one day you realize that you didn’t just excel; you found greatness. After that, you can’t walk away. It’s impossible not to fall in love with what you are great at. Love for what you do is a child of effort. The harder you work the greater is your love.
Love for what you do is not a passion. It never fades. It keeps growing regardless of the outcome. Even if you had a bad day, even if you happened to get a bitter taste of failure, your love continues to grow. Like in real love, love for what you do comes with its struggles but you never give up on it.
This is how I see the words “love” and “happiness”. For me, the words of John Lennon take up a new form:
Success is being present dedicating your life to the work you love.
Thank you for reading my book “Meditations of the Millennial”.
If you want to support me on my mission, please, share this book with someone you love. Maybe they will find what they seek on its pages.