After the last few posts of tips and tools, it’s time for a story…
nce upon a time…
there was boy who didn’t have the pressure from parents that some people have – to Be a Doctor or Join the Business or anything. He just knew he wanted to be happy.
This boy was a big fan of television so he grew up with endless images of happy people. He saw that happy people drove cool cars and owned beautiful houses and went to fabulous parties and dated gorgeous women and had minty fresh breath and clear skin. And it became glaringly obvious to our young hero that the way to become happy was to become successful.
So he went for success with everything he had — he studied hard and worked extra jobs to help pay for his education. This effort paid off with a Biochemistry degree from Brown University and a prestigious consulting job. He leveraged that experience into an MBA from the Wharton School and a sought-after job in venture capital and biotech. He married a beautiful woman, bought a lovely house and had two great kids. At 35, after 20 years of hard work and toil, he found himself successful beyond his wildest dreams.
But he wasn’t happy.
And he didn’t know why.
He’d done all the things he was supposed to do. He was externally as successful as he possibly could be. So where was that happiness he’d been promised? Where was his ‘happily ever after?’
He started hunting for answers. If success wasn’t the path to happiness, then he was determined to figure out what was. He took happiness quizzes in his wife’s Glamour magazine; he tried out Oprah’s Happiness Plan and explored Buddhist meditation. While he had some success feeling happier, his efforts felt sporadic and incomplete.
Then one day, he stumbled upon the book, Authentic Happiness, by Martin Seligman and discovered that there was an entire field of science focusing on happiness. This new science of happiness was systematically evaluating what made people happy, what each of us can do to be happier and the amazing benefits of living our lives in a more positive emotional state.
From this new science, he learned that happiness isn’t a destination and isn’t a result of achieving our dreams. That happiness is found in the little things we do every day and in the way we CHOOSE to look at the things that happen to us.
He’s a lot happier now. He still gets his share of disappointments, frustrations and sadness. But they don’t take him down for nearly as long as they did in his old life. He has many more good days now than he did when he was trying to succeed his way to happiness. And while there is no “happily ever after” he now finds himself living very happily for hours, days and sometimes even weeks at a time, which is a pretty good way to keep on writing his story.
Eric Karpinski The Happiness Coach
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