Are You Putting Your Happiness on Hold?

Webster’s Dictionary defines success as follows. 1. The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.  2. The attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.  I think it’s amazing that the words “happy” or “happiness “or “joy” are not included in the definition of the word “success.”

Unfortunately, our conventional definition of success is simply achieving the goal.  Not enough emphasis is placed on the value of experiencing and enjoying the journey, building character, and learning life lessons along the way.

In all my years of being a stand-up comedian, I’ve known many comics who put their happiness on hold.  They had difficulty enjoying the process because they believed they wouldn’t be happy until they signed with HBO, got their own sitcom or movie deal, or whatever it was they thought would make them happy.  I know because I was one of them. 

Over the years I’ve seen close friends morph into bitter, jealous and resentful people.  It was apparent that some of them didn’t even enjoy making people laugh anymore.  Without ever realizing what they were doing to themselves, they got caught up in their own quest to become a star, which in their minds was the only thing that would make them happy. 

The world of show business became their only business.  They never allowed themselves the time to appreciate other aspects of themselves along the way.  Their total existence revolved around getting “discovered,” which was ironic because they had no idea how lost they really were.  It was disheartening to see them living such a shallow existence.  They would perform from club to club and go from one audition to the next.  Their lives were on automatic pilot as they strived and waited on that big break, that day somewhere in the future when they would finally be happy. 

People who believe only one thing will make them happy, whether it is finding a romantic partner, having a baby, having a certain amount of money in the bank or something else are likely to get caught up in a cycle of unconscious thoughts.  Those thoughts reinforce each other, leading them to believe that success and happiness is somewhere in the future.  The unfortunate truth about people with this mindset is that they don’t yet know that happiness can only be experienced in the present, in the moment of whatever it is that you are trying to achieve right now.

If the process of fulfilling your goal is polluted with negative energy and lack of enjoyment in the moment, it can only create more unhappiness. Even when you reach your version of “success”, the initial euphoria eventually wears off. If you’ve carried that same old mind-set with you, you are back in the same old negative place.

It really doesn’t matter how much money you have, or how famous you are, or how many goals you’ve achieved.  It makes no difference how big your house is or what industry accolades you’ve racked up in your career.  The entire world can view your life as the ultimate success story, but the bottom line is this: if you are not happy right now you are not successful.  If you are not enjoying yourself on your journey towards your goal, you’re ripping yourself off.    

Choose to find your happiness in this moment, right here, wherever you are. It’s a decision, not a destination.

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