Doesn’t it seem like simmering anger is the major emotion many of us are feeling? Even watching the daily news for a few minutes – someone or a group who is upset or angry is featured – and then I get angry watching it. I won’t even mention driving somewhere. Lord knows I need to work on my potty mouth when I’m cut off, tailed aggressively, or almost get hit by someone looking at their phone.
Enough about anger – I can sense you’re getting fired up 🙂 Let’s flip it and go on the opposite side – the emotion of happiness. This is another interesting set of feelings to take a look at. Speaking broadly and generally, it seems most people are struggling with happiness. An obvious reason is the amount of loss of health, lives, businesses, and way of living brought on by the global pandemic.
Let’s flip the script one more time. Why does it seem so many people that have been blessed with so much seem unhappy? Stretching our minds – we can think of people in politics, business, sports, entertainment, or people that we know personally – they just seem to be missing something. Besides having faith in something or someone greater than themselves – what else are they missing?
Recently, I believe I heard a great explanation on a podcast interview with a man named Dean Graziosi (The Ed Mylett Podcast October 12, 2021) that gave amazing insight into this reality. I had never heard of Dean – but the title intrigued me: “Succeed with Happiness and Confidence.” Skeptical at first. Thinking this just another multi-millionaire trying to sway us common folk into buying his product and then we’ll all be rich! I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Dean grew up in poverty. At one point, he worked 20 hour workdays to build a business while his buddies were busy partying and having fun. Now he has the goal of “impacting over 100 million people” with his trainings, charities, and philanthropy. Here is a paraphrase of his answer when Ed asked him, “Why are so many people unhappy right now? Especially those that have achieved some level of “success” in their particular field?” Dean’s answer:
Success with money, power, and possessions – but without fulfillment and happiness, equals shallow living. Some people think that they have everything they want – but they are still unhappy. Here’s what I believe the reason is. I think unhappy people have stopped stretching themselves. They’ve arrived at their goals and stopped. Or, they were not able to accomplish their goals and gave up. Either way, they’ve stopped personally growing.
Imagine a lighthouse representing any goal you are seeking to accomplish. Well, let’s say you met the goal and now you are in your mind standing next to the lighthouse. Most people stay there. They arrive at whatever destination they had in their minds and stop. They stop striving, problem solving, struggling, and fighting. Yes, that leads to a more “peaceful” life – but does it really?
What if the lighthouse kept moving every time you reached it? What if it continued to stay in the distance? That would keep us hungry and not satisfied – because there is still work to be done. And ultimately, the journey would hopefully lead us to being others centered instead of seeking non-stop self fulfillment, comfort, and pleasure.
An interesting mindshift twist that we can apply to any area of our lives. Here are some examples of keeping the lighthouse in the distance:
- Finances – Pretending that we don’t have any money in the bank, checking, or savings.
- Marriage – Seeing the relationship as we are just starting to date and I’m trying to win her over.
- Health – You’ve just been given a dreadful diagnosis by your doctor – and the remedy is to clean up your eating and start exercising consistently.
- Work – Imagine you’re on a one year contract, and the bosses have to decide whether to keep you or not.
- Faith – You’ve just discovered God for the first time – what would reading the Bible, serving, and worship look like?
- School – If you don’t get high grades and put in the effort – your alternative choice will be working 14 hour days in a coal mine.
The secret is: How can we become a better version of ourselves in EVERY area of our lives? How can we serve people at the highest level to impact the world? Even though we will never arrive at the final goal – we will continue to grow and not get stuck at complacency, mediocrity, and according to Dean’s theory – ongoing unhappiness.
Give it a try for a few days. Move those lighthouses out into the distant horizon. And if you make it to one – move it again!
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)