What if the greatest success in life is to be happy? Can it really be that simple? What if we made decisions in our life based on whether or not it would make us happy? That sounds incredibly hard because there are so many other important elements to life. But is there anything more important than your own happiness?
I don't think that there is. When you are happy you are able to spread that to others. When you're happy, giving and contributing doesn't feel like work or effort. I don't know about you but sometimes the reason for my giving is to check a box or because I feel obligated and not because I genuinely want to. And I'm not just talking about giving to the poor. I'm talking about giving my time or resources to a friend or acquaintance.
I feel like so many of us are on this rat race to achieve and to be wealthy but what are achievements and material things if you don't have joy?
With those questions in mind, do you know what happiness looks like to you?
The thing about happiness is that it looks different for every person. There isn't a one size fits all approach to happiness. I just talked to a girl who loves true crime shows and they make her happy. To me, Dateline and Murder Mystery are my nightmare and would essentially be torture.
To me, happiness looks like peace mixed with laughter and loved ones. It looks like being outside, trying new things, and eating good (and healthy) food. It looks like getting to know myself as best as I can and loving that person. It looks like meeting new people and connecting in a meaningful way.
I've always been an achiever so the idea of having a life like that seems wrong or too simple. But maybe that's just the story I'm telling myself. Maybe that's exactly what I'm yearning for but I'm not giving myself permission for simplicity.
I'm not saying achieving is bad but I think the right way to achieve is through what makes you happy rather than trying to force yourself to achieve and then forgetting about your happiness in the process. I've heard the quote by Albert Schweitzer** so many times and it's actually one of my favorites - "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success," but it's almost like I'm seeing it for the first time. Or maybe finally taking it in.
I think so many of us have been going about life in the wrong way by trying to gain success and wealth. What we should be trying to gain is happiness - whatever that looks like to you. If you knew the only way to get success was to go through happiness would you be doing things differently? Perhaps more enjoyably?
**I just went down a rabbit hole looking up Albert Schweitzer and he is a fascinating man. He was a German-French theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician who also won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.
IG @stephygthatsme and @showuptogoup