Run after Motivation, not Happiness

Anmol Mohan

"Happiness is just a moment before you need more happiness." - Don Draper (Mad Men)

We are the products of our beliefs. Our experiences are defined by the choices that we make in our life. Our belief systems directly impact the decisions that we make in our lives. So much so that we rarely stop for a moment to think about our beliefs. Beliefs by definition are the principles which are hard-wired in our brains to act without wasting time to consider.

It might be a good habit to question these belief systems once in a while especially if we hit a wall and looking to make changes to our lives. However today I am writing about a widespread belief which might be the reason behind most of the choices that we make in our life.

We want to be happy.

I am not sure if I have ever met anyone in my life who doesn't want to be happy. We are all humans after all. Most of us even dedicate our lives in pursuit of activities which will bring happiness and joy. We keep doing things in the hope that the consequences of those activities will bring us happiness. Most of the times the consequence is money.

We purposefully weave our surroundings in such a way that it will fill our lives with pleasure — a new car perhaps or a dream vacation with your loved ones. Heck, we even created Facebook to feel like a celebrity every-time we post something.

But tell me, did it last?

A new car becomes just a machine to transport you to a workplace which you so obviously hate. How long does it take you to fight with your family and wish you were somewhere else hanging with your friends who understand you more than your wife? When was the last time you liked something on Facebook because you were genuinely happy to see that post about your friend traveling to Italy?

The evidence is overwhelming. This approach to life doesn't work. We keep running in circles trying to find happiness, succeed for a short while and then go back to living the same life which we hate. The worst part is that we never stop to see the pattern in our activities and learn from it. Sometimes because of the expectations, sometimes because of peer-pressure and sometimes because of sheer stupidity, we keep letting the environment influence our decisions rather than looking inside about what matters.

So what is wrong?

Doesn't matter how random this universe seems to be, there is no denying that there are specific rules which cannot be ignored if you want to live a fulfilling life. Newton is not known centuries after his death because if he was a drunk idiot who happened to drink under a tree. He was there for a reason, and that reason led him to do certain activities which ultimately led to the discovery of gravity. Apple doesn't become what they are today because the founders won a billion dollars in a lottery. They had a vision, and their commitment to that vision led them the extraordinary financial success that we see today.

There are specific rules in nature which can easily define a worthy life from others. One of the primary ones is the Presence of a Purpose. All the happy people that you see out there have a Purpose. I am not talking about the people who pretend to be happy on Instagram pics; I am talking about people who are genuinely fulfilled. So let me rephrase. All the happy and prosperous people that you see out there have a Purpose.

So when you buy a new car to go travel to a place which you hate, your happiness is bound to fade in a few days. When you like something on Facebook not because you like it, but in hope to get a like back, you put yourself in a perpetual loop of doing something that you don't like, but you have to achieve what you want, it is not a sustainable joy.

So why can't I have 'Accumulating Wealth' as my purpose?

You can. Most people have the same purpose. But are most people happy? Or even those who have accumulated a lot of wealth happy? This is not a moral lesson, and there is nothing inherently wrong with wishing to have a lot of money.

However, there are numerous ways of earning money. You cannot do everything. So:

1. It is a choice that you have to make about what you want to do. If the goal is to make money, you have to choose which path is worth it. So if you decide to do something that you love, you are more likely to have a sustainable motivation, and you are more likely to succeed. Hence the focus should be on what you want to make and how are you going to make it succeed.

2. If you have already done step 1, your purpose by definition has already changed. So after doing that if you keep focusing on money, you will go wrong. This is because you will keep encountering ways of making money which does not align with your purpose and keep distracting you from your goal. Hence there are more chances of going wrong.

Money cannot be the purpose. It is a consequence of the choices that you make in your life. It should be treated that way. Most of the material things which you feel will give you happiness are all consequences of your choices, your attitude, and your work.

So doing this will give me happiness?

Not exactly. It could be a hard pill to swallow, but Happiness is not something that can be given. It is a state of mind. Either you are happy, or you are not. No one can provide you with happiness, and no one can take it away. At all times, It is your choice to be happy or not. If you are not satisfied while achieving your objective, you most certainly will not be satisfied after you accomplish the goal.

So to enjoy the journey, you need four key ingredients. A purpose, A firm commitment towards your Purpose so that you don't leave midway in the face of adversity, A focus on your purpose at all times so that you are not distracted and Hard-Work. Nothing can be achieved if you don't execute the plan even if you have the best plan in the world.

If you agree with that, you would agree that you need a lot of motivation to get these four things in shape for your life. You not only need a good jump start regarding Purpose but you need a sustainable system which can keep pushing you till you achieve your Purpose. You need to be able to take pleasure in what you do, day in and day out.

Hence you need to look inside and find out your motivation and keep doing that every-time you hit a wall. This may mean that you might have to keep the happiness of back-burner several times in the name of a greater cause. But we know, it will be worth. Focussing on happiness is just a distraction.

Mental Strength

Anmol Mohan

I am just trying to make sense of this world. I am interested in the hardest puzzles like Consciousness, Humanity and Multiverse. Sharing my honest learning during this journey.