If Accomplishments Won’t Make Us Happier, Then What Will?
Updated: Sep 6, 2021
Recently, I have quite often caught myself thinking how happy I will be if I grew my business an x amount, or if I started earning an x amount of money, or if I would get my running pace down by an x amount of minutes. Even though deep down I know that money and success shouldn’t be my goal, I can’t help but think about how that progress would improve the quality of my life. When I discovered how often I could be immersed in that thinking pattern, I started to fight against it, or feel guilty just to punish myself, but I later saw that this wasn’t the way to go, because I was still striving to become something more than I was at that moment.
Confused about how to deal with all of these desires, I read more books on being present and spirituality, but it seemed like I wasn’t able to put all of that advice into action. It was still hard for me not to make success the driving force of my daily actions. Because if achievements, pleasures, and improvement aren’t the point of the habits we do each day, then what is?
I’m not going to write about the meaning of life, because I’m modest enough to at least notice that I have still a lot to learn in that area. But I will share something else that my limited and absolutely average human mind could comprehend. Because as I felt overwhelmed with all the feelings that came from fighting my desires, I decided to meditate on why I feel the need to chase these achievements in the first place. And that’s when I came upon a realization, which completely changed my perspective.
I will never be happier than I can be right at this moment
Or in other words, in this present moment, I have all I need – the ability and the potential – to feel the maximum level of happiness I will ever be able to feel. And that maximum level is a constant; it will never change throughout my life just as my ability to be happy won’t change. I can reach that happiness when I’m earning 2000$ a month and when I’m earning 9000$ a month and it will still be the same maximum level of joy. It’s all up to me because that joy is always there, available all the time.
I’m not saying that I am in a state of bliss at all times. And I’m not saying that we should be at that maximum level of happiness at all times. What I have realized is that we don’t need anything more than we have in this present moment, to reach all the happiness and love possible. As cliche as it might sound – all we need is within.
This concept is very simple, yet hard to comprehend at the same time. The analogy that can help explain it, is boiling water. The maximum temperature of water as a liquid is 100ºC and that is the boiling point. Every day, throughout your life, many lives before, and surely many lives in the future, water always boils at its maximum temperature of 100ºC and the only thing that changes with time is your willingness to flip the power switch on the kettle. You decide to reach that boiling point because the kettle is always there, full of water and waiting.
It’s definitely easier said than done when it comes to making the choice to feel that inner joy because we often feel we don’t deserve to be. We think we shouldn’t be happy because we haven’t gotten that dream job yet, or that new car, or we’re not pretty enough or not successful enough. Not only do we believe that when we get these things we will finally be happier, but we also believe that when we get these things we will finally deserve to be happier. Therefore, the main reasons why we don’t decide to turn on that kettle are fear and self-doubt. Only when we deal with these destructive feelings, can we start enjoying the present moment as if we were millionaires who have everything they can possibly need. Because that’s also when we realize that we do already have everything we can possibly need.