Sometimes, the things that are taking away your happiness in life are quite subtle and hard to see.
Take a look at this example.
A guy named Joe walks to work every day.
One day, he thinks to himself: Man, if I had a bike to ride to get to work, I’d be happy.
Day after day, he grumbles about how his feet hurt on his walk to and from work.
Eventually, he saves up enough money to get a bike and he gets one. And for some time, he’s quite content.
Later on, he notices how tired he’s getting from pedaling his bike to and from work. It’s not long before he starts to resent the bike and want something more.
I wish I had a car to drive to get to work. It’d be easier for me, and I’d be happier.
His new complaint of the day is that he gets all sweaty whenever he bikes to work. So he starts saving money.
It takes a while, but he finally saves up enough to get a car. It’s not the fanciest car in the world, but it works. For now, he thinks to himself.
But then Joe starts to notice what kind of cars his coworkers are driving, and he’s looking at his own car. Eww, he whines. Mine looks so boring compared to theirs. I need to get a nicer, sleeker car with a more modern look. Then I’d be happy.
I think you get the point I’m trying to make.
What’s so bad about trying to improve your life?
You might think Joe deserves a pat on the back because he’s setting goals for himself and he’s reaching them, in which case, sure, props to him for doing so.
But there’s a difference between having goals and perpetually being unhappy.
It’s fine to use your current circumstances as motivation to seek better for yourself, but you have to learn to balance that with content, and to be able to find satisfaction with where you are in your journey.
This is not the same thing as being in denial and pretending to be in eternal bliss with your current circumstances, because that’s ridiculous.
You are where you are because of one reason or another, and being upset about that all the time will take away your happiness.
The fix to be content
You have to understand that you’re constantly on a journey, no matter what point in life you’re currently at.
If you tell yourself to only be satisfied and happy once you hit certain milestones, you’re setting yourself up to feel miserable and disappointed until you hit them.
If you’re new to writing, for example, and you tell yourself you’d only be happy once you hit 100 followers, does that mean you’ll be unhappy until you reach that point? Are you going to write with a frown on your face until you get there?
Be patient with yourself and remember that everybody starts from zero, and from zero, we each find our way on our own separate journeys and paths.
Joe gets tired of walking? At least he has two functioning legs and feet he can use to walk.
Joe gets sick of his bike? At least he has a job that pays him so that he can save up for and buy a bike.
Oh, you only have 10 followers instead of 100?
- Be thankful 10 people show appreciation for your work and want to stick around for it.
- Be thankful you have an electronic device you can use to publish your articles.
- Be proud of yourself that you started on your writing journey at all. Many people get stuck before they start.
Gratitude and perspective are the names of the game.
Don’t get caught in that ugly trap of comparing yourself to other people either.
There’s not a single person on the planet in the past, present, or future who has lived or will live through the exact same life you have, and your concern that you’re not where someone else is isn’t a fair or accurate comparison to make in the slightest.