by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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This one may sound a little funny, but it is quite true.  I have learned this myself and cannot agree more; chasing after something is the best part of the process.  The thrill of the chase turns out to be the most enticing thing despite thinking that obtaining the dream job, item, win, whatever, might be.

In the world we live in today, everyone is the measuring stick we use for comparison.  When I was in high school and college, it was just the people directly around me that I compared myself to, but now, anyone who has a cell phone has the ability to post themselves doing something to share with the rest of the world.  The problem with this is that it seems to have upped the stakes for everyone else to try to keep up with.  Let me let you in on a little secret, it’s all bullsh*t.  Lots of people are putting out the “highlight reel” version of  their life in effort to keep up with everyone else, who ironically is doing the same thing.  Yes, I understand that a few people out there as super rich and live a lifestyle that most only could ever dream of.  You need only to watch the Paris Hilton documentary to understand that not everything is as it appears.  This link is to the trailer of the 90 minute plus full story, but you’ll get the idea.

You do not need to drive a brand new Tesla or get a poolside suite in Vegas to party in during Spring Break.  Hopefully you learn to tune out as much of this noise as possible as quickly as you can.  Material possessions and a posh lifestyle do not equate to happiness.  So the magic question is, what does lend itself towards a happier existence?  Luckily, I think I have the answer…

Pursuit.  I have found over and over in my life that I am happiest when I have a goal I am working towards, in pursuit of.  I have written several books, and looking back on each of those projects, I was enjoying the process of writing and assembling the books for publishing versus having completed them and waiting for copies to sell.  Yes, the sense of accomplishment was great, for a bit.  But the act of striving towards something, seeing a goal out in front of me that is hanging just out of my reach was the best part of the process.  Once the project was completed, the drive I had died.  Now I was sitting back and waiting for the next thing to happen instead of being in a position of my actions equalling forward progress.  The same thing was true when I was saving money to buy a new (to me) vehicle.  Working extra hours to put more money in my bank account ended up providing me more memories and stories than when I sat in the driver’s seat of that car.  It is anti-climatic in some ways to get what you want.  I know that sounds crazy, but the two years of working at age 15 and 16 to save the money to buy a car was fueled by the end result, and then when I did buy my first vehicle the thrill of this wore off after about 30 days.  Once all my friends and family had seen it for the first time and said their words of congratulations to me, the shine wore off.

The sooner you figure out that the pursuit of something is where a large majority of where the happiness comes from, the better off you will be.  And this will be a twofold thing:

1. You will know to enjoy the ride while you are on it.  You will see that the pursuit is the fun part.

2. Because you are likely to have your wins at some point, you will quickly find that the lack of                         something you desire fueling your actions becomes very demotivating.

What we all need is a reason to strive.  For some, it may be a family to take care of and provide for.  For others, it may be to climb the corporate ladder and get that corner office.  But keep in mind, the kids grow and leave the house, and the corner office just comes with far more work and responsibility in exchange for the salary.  Do you want to live a life that makes you happy or do you want to make more money and buy things that you barely have time to enjoy?  Do you want to work your ass off 50 weeks a year just to lay on a beach and recover for to weeks out of the year?  Maybe a lifestyle adjustment is in order, so that you can find that happy medium of living a life and not being forced to work just to afford the lifestyle that you think you need to live.  Some of the happiest people I know make $40K a year and go to every one of their kids’ soccer games and one simple but fun vacation a year.  And some of the most miserable people I know are wealthier than almost every single person on the planet.  Choose wisely.

You have most likely heard the statement of “Money cannot buy Happiness” and while money may buy you a nicer house or a better seat on an airplane, it will not quell those voices in your head.  You see, the real problem that you are likely trying to wrestle with is how you view yourself and your place in the world, and you have been (mis)led to believe that by accumulating more material possessions you will be happier in life.  I know a lot of people with varying degrees of wealth, a bunch of millionaires, and three billionaires, and all will tell you the same thing:  There is no correlation between your bank account and how you feel about yourself.  Happiness starts from within, learning to appreciate what you have, regardless of how much or little, is one of the best gifts you can ever give yourself.

Stop looking around for your point of reference as to how you are doing.  Look inside and ask yourself this one simple but profound question:  Am I Happy?  If you are, you are winning, no matter what your bank account says or what’s sitting in your driveway.   And yes, it is that simple.  You may not believe that just yet, but at some point in your future, you will.  So the sooner you come to this conclusion, the better.

As always, I wish you luck in your endeavors.

 

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