That big future goal will keep you striving, but the daily intention will have you living the happy life you want now.
What a strange time to wish for happy. You’re probably not happy. You’re in isolation, socially distancing and fearing the dreaded invisible plague. Or maybe you’ve had enough and you’re out there fighting for your freedom. It’s not up to me to judge here, I just know that whichever you’re doing, you’re probably not feeling very happy.
Happy is what we all want. It’s why we all strive to write our own story, to create great goals and chase the beautiful life.
- Become a writer, I’ll be happy
- Travel the world, I’ll be happy
- Become financially free, I’ll be happy
- Happy family and … you get the idea
We’re chasing happy and we set goals that we believe will get us that happy we crave.
However, these goals we set will never make us truly happy.
It turns out our goals have nothing to do with our happiness.
We believe, or we’ve been trained to believe, that our happiness comes from achieving our goals and attaining our desires.
However, recently I’ve been shown that goals don’t make us happy and there’s actual a very quick and easy way to get happy. Even during these depressing times.
So, if it’s not the attainment of goals that makes us happy, then what does?
Intentions not goals
I stumbled on this knowledge quite by accident, first with Kyle Cease, who recommended to me that you want intentions, not goals.
I watched him on YouTube:
Basically, he explains that if you have a goal, it’s something out there that you are fighting towards. It’s something that you will one day have. Which ultimately means, it’s something you don’t yet have. Therefore, until you achieve the goal, you will feel like you’re missing out.
This feeling of lack, or loss, or missing out, will not make you happy. It will actually make you feel frustrated.
The frustration of goals
We already know that, don’t we? We have the goals, and we accept some frustration and the pain of wanting because we know it will take time to get what we want. We also “know” that good things don’t come easy. We go through the struggle, so that when we get it, oh what joy.
This will indeed give you a moment of happiness. However, this is the happiness of one moment of achievement.
What Mr. Cease explains, and what I’ve come to know through my few experiences of achieving goals, is that these moments of achievement are not as magical and fulfilling as we might imagine.
Actually, it’s usually over pretty quick. We get what we’ve been working for and for a moment it’s like, “great, I win, I’m awesome … now what?”
We achieve what we wanted and we feel that happiness. However, it doesn’t last long. Then we are back to striving and hungering again.
The solution to happiness
Mr. Cease explains, if you aim for intention, you have a chance of winning.
If you wake up and intend to live a happy life, then you will do the things that make you happy, and therefore you will be happy.
An example, just to make it even more clear:
Imagine the goal: I want a million fans and to live off my writing one day.
Well, with that goal you wake up every day going: ‘Oh my God, I’m never getting there. I barely have a thousand followers, let alone fans, and I’m hardly making a dollar a day, nowhere near the kind of money I need to live on. This sucks!’
However, if my intention is to write every day like a man who has a million fans and lives off his writing, well I’m doing that right now.
Whether the fans or the money is there doesn’t matter. I write with the intention of being that kind of writer. That I can achieve today. I know a great writer with lots of fans needs to produce quality work that gives great value, is entertaining and is consistent. I can do that. That’s achievable. Also, by doing that, it means I have a chance of one day achieving the goal.
It feels ok.
I’m not going to lie to you. I’m not here feeling like a super star. However, I feel like I’m writing more quality stuff than I was when I was desperate and feeling pissed off that I had no followers.
It feels like I’m on my way to my goal, but like I have power right now to enjoy being a real writer, by doing what great writers do. I have achieved my intention and that feels rewarding, while I’m also using that feeling to continue on towards being successful in this field.
Read more about a few of Mr. Cease’s bright ideas here:The World Has Gone Crazy, And I Love That!What funny man Kyle Cease taught me about chasing successmedium.com
Happy through themes
Having learned this from Mr. Cease, I had it backed up when I read Niklas Göke’s, You Don’t Need Goals, You Need a Theme:You Don’t Need Goals, You Need a ThemeHappiness is rarely a result of what you accomplishmedium.com
In this article, he encourages the idea or living by themes instead of chasing goals.
On brief inspection, they seem like pretty much the same thing.
To quote Goke:
“Until we reach them, all goals do is exert pressure from afar. Even worse, when we finally do achieve them, they disappear.” Niklas Goke
This is very much the same advice as Kyle Cease above.
Instead of goals, he, quoting James Altucher and others, suggests we create a theme:
“A theme might be a single word — a verb, a noun, or an adjective. “Commit,” “growth,” and “healthy” are all valid themes. So are “invest,” “help,” “kindness,” and “gratitude.”
If you want to be kind, be kind today. If you want to be rich, commit today. If you want to be healthy, choose health today. If you want to be grateful, say “thank you” today. Niklas Goke
This is basically the same advice as Kyle Cease. Both seem to champion the idea that goals lead to dissatisfaction, because we are ultimately chasing after a feeling that the goal can never really deliver. However, if we were to chase directly after the happiness we want, with intentions and/or themes, then we can have the success today.
For example: we want a million dollars because we feel it will give us the excitement, power, significance and/or happiness we want. However, we don’t need the money to feel that right now. In fact, achieving the goal, will probably not give us the feeling we actually want.
However, if you imagine how wealthy people live, and you imagine what is true wealth and what makes you feel really wealthy, then chances are you can live wealthy now. Why wait for the pieces of paper?
Effectively, goals won’t make you happy.
If you live with a goal, you are always waiting for a future where you have what you want. Even then, when you achieve the goal, it may satisfy you for a while, but that satisfaction is only short lived. The fact is, happiness, meaning, satisfaction, all of that comes from within. They come from achieving levels of ability and from experiences of growth. They don’t come from achieving things. Also, once you achieve that growth, the good feeling fades until you achieve that next level of growth.
Goals and achievements are good — they set your sights on what you want and what we want to become. However, they do not create happiness. Happiness comes from the intention to be happy, or by living by a theme that brings you happiness.
If I intend to be happy, then I will wake in a certain way and I will do the things that make me happy. If I live by the theme of happiness, I will worship happy and look to learn more about it and spread more happiness around. Thus, becoming happy.
So, if you want to be happy, stop worrying about goals. Start being happy today.
How to get happy?
To get happy, we need to feel satisfied. Satisfaction comes from filling needs and wants.
Fulfill your needs and true wants:
Here I’m going to paraphrase Tony Robbins, as I like his list of 6 needs the best — they are simple and easy to apply to life. But I’ll be putting them in my own words.
- We need security
- And we need to feel like we are making a contribution.
So if you want to be happy, start by chasing those things that will give you true satisfaction. Go after those real deep down needs and feel real fulfillment.
Want the things that bring you more stability in your life, that bring variety, connection, growth and contribution, and you will find success way before the fortune and fame. And most important you’ll live happy.
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