Written by Pierre Stanley Baptiste
You just got the degree. The one thing you thought would change your life forever. You’ve worked your butt off to achieve this important goal. You’ve dreamed of all the great things you would do after getting it. Just few days after this milestone, you feel the need for more. How often do we find ourselves in a similar situation? Treating a goal like a piece of sh*t after years of working hard to achieve it.
While it looks like progress, wanting more might be actually destroying your happiness.
I had just reached 80% of a goal, but was unhappy I did not meet the exact target. How ungrateful was I? Instead of celebrating the progress, I valued a stupid number. We live in world where people think in likes, conversion rates and the bottom line. Keeping score is as dangerous as doing nothing. When keeping score, we don’t enjoy the process. All we care about is the next number, the next peak. Most achievers and type A personalities I know, crave momentum. Counting gives us this false sense of momentum. So, we forget that life should be lived and not measured. The value of our life doesn’t depend on the amount our accomplishments. Bigger scores don’t mean bigger value.
To paraphrase Aristotle, “The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.”
Comparing Ourselves to Others
Comparison kills creativity and happiness. There’s nothing bad about looking up to others to improve ourselves. When it becomes a measurement to our worth, it’s voluntary suicide. Comparison often leads us to have and be what we don’t need to be nor have. Just because society sets beauty and success standards doesn’t mean we should live up to them. Falling into this trap is the glamorized path to self-destruction. The most important lesson is to remember: We are no less, nor better, we are just different.
It’s in our instinct to want more, but we should always ask: More for what? More the sake of more doesn’t fulfill us. It kills happiness. We all know there’s nothing exterior to us that can feel the void inside. So why keep on trying? Conditioning our happiness to an event. It’s believing in Santa when we’ve seen parents putting gifts under our pillows (In Haiti) for 10 years. We’ve bought into the idea that the next thing will be better, so we do not bother to enjoy what we have. We believe that all we need is a new app, a new boyfriend, a new phone and the pain we feel will go away. Oops there’s a term for that: consumerism. Or as I call that, the more-fever.
The next degree is not going to change your life if you did not do anything with the one you have.
You are not going to be happier when you get married.
You don’t need more to be better.
Write down one of your desires for more and ask yourself these questions right now:
Why do I want more of X?
What will more of X allow me to do?
Could I do what I want to do without more of X?
Could I do/be more without more of X?
Will more of this bring me joy and happiness?
Will more of X will make me a better person?
If you answer yes to most of these questions, you are currently caught up in the more loop. Get out now my friend if you want to be happy. Let’s end with the same scenario we started with: You just got the degree. The one thing you thought would change your life forever. You’ve worked your butt off to achieve this important goal. You’ve dreamed of all the great things you would do after getting it. Once you get it you accomplish what seemed impossible with it. You used it to change your life and other people’s lives. You avoid going for more for no reason. You become an inspiration for everybody around you. Fulfillment and happiness shine in your life-like sunshine on a green mountain. Years after getting it you are still doing the most of it.
Once you decide to go for more, it’s simply to become more of who you already are.