Aren’t happy pills called ecstasy?
I tried that drug before, when I was sixteen. I blacked out then kind of passed out. I was with my first girlfriend and her friend, and I thought I was going to die. Then I never did ecstasy again.
I didn’t turn happy. So, I didn’t see what the big deal about these pills were. If I was given a lifetime supply, or even one of those magical pills, I would probably be right back where I started when I was sixteen. Lying on the ground, blacked out, looking as if I’m dead. So, would I take these happiness pills?
Probably not, unless I was looking to end it all.
Happiness, on the other hand, isn’t something we really attain by acquiring items. It is what we achieve by fulfilling our basic needs and by changing our philosophy on life.
I used to have everything I thought I ever wanted.
- I had a girlfriend whom I loved. We lived together. We discussed marriage.
- I had a job that paid me six figures a year. My name is still on the wall.
- I had a surplus of income which I could do whatever in the world I wanted.
- I had a wardrobe filled with designer clothing. Versace and Louis V.
- I spent around $2,000 a month eating out. Wining and Dining.
- I paid all my credit cards in full. Amex loved me.
- I had strong relationships with everyone I had met. Power and respect.
When I had it all, I had a thought come to my head. A thought that actually was quite dangerous, detrimental even. I pondered and thought, I have absolutely everything I want in life, yet I’m not happy.
Is this it?
Is this what the American dream is all about?
To acquire everything that my heart could possibly desire, just to live life and be normal? Without the happiness and materialistic possessions that I had worked so hard to achieve?
So, I did what any average person would do when I faced an empty ended life that was destined for me. I turned to drugs. Then, everything slowly crumbled apart. I was depressed and heartbroken for around the next six years of my life. I tried to get back what I had lost, because I felt like it was what had defined me. I worked tirelessly in the hopes that I could one day reclaim what I had lost. I felt that what I once had defined my life, and now I was just nothing.
Eventually, I failed. Then I failed again, and again, and again. I failed to the point where I just gave up hope and was ready to call it quits. I sent my ex my final letter, saying that I gave up on life. I told her that this would be the last time she would ever hear from me. I told her to let my family know how much I loved them, yet I would no longer be here anymore.
Letter to ex:
She came to my work, on the day when I was ready to fulfill my plan. She came and stopped me from doing what I was about to do. She forced me to stay with her, as she told me of how selfish and stupid I was. Then, she gave me a resolve to live, once again.
Being bruised, battered and beaten to a pulp, by everything that life could toss at me, I barely lifted myself back up and knew that I couldn’t let my grandmother, nor my mother see me die before they reached their last days on this earth. I knew that I had to live, or at least survive, for now. There was the grim world of death, where I would cause a turmoil of pain to the ones I loved. Then there was life, where I would just be lost, wandering aimlessly through life, without a clue with what to do with myself.
I chose life.
Yet, I know, I had to do something different this time around. For months, I was stagnant. I didn’t try to move forward, nor did I try to move backwards. I spent each day just surviving, wondering if I would find myself. Then, on one unfortunate night, while I was out with my ex, I broke my ankle.
Back story here:
During those next three months, I had a lot of time to reflect. To remember who I was. How I was raised. What failures I had gone through. What I had learned. I became wiser to my shortcomings. I began to understand why my life took turns for the worse. I began to see the patterns that caused my life to fall back apart.
I slowly began to become in tune to who I was. Yet, I still had no clue how to move forward. So, I began searching. Searching for meaning in life. Searching for a way to live. Searching to find this thing that we call…
Then, one day, I stumbled across a new concept. Something so simple, yet so profound.
- Sleep for eight hours a day, I was told.
- Eat at least two meals a day, I was told.
- Exercise, I was told.
- Slow down, I was told.
- Stop living in the past, I was told.
- Stop hoping for the future, I was told.
- Forgive those who had wronged me, I was told.
- Start living in the moment, I was told.
- Think of what I was grateful for, I was told.
- Be selfless, I was told.
- Help others, I was told.
- Create a mindset of abundance, I was told.
I already had nothing. I already failed at everything I tried. I gave up on my life, multiple times. I tried my hardest, yet I failed. I had everything I thought I ever wanted, yet I was unhappy. I was just here, working an entry level job, without a clue with what to do in my life.
I thought happiness was completely unattainable, so I was stagnant, like a rock in the forest, forever to be ignored. Ignored by the animals, ignored by the plants, ignored by the trees, even ignored by the bulldozers tearing down the trees all around.
So, I thought to myself, what in the world did I have to lose?
Then, I decided that I would implement this new way of life. I would make sure to take care of my own personal health. I would toss away my goals and stop looking to the future. I would stop regretting all the mistakes I had made in the past.
I would start living for today. I would start appreciating everything around me, from the flowers, to the birds, to the squirrels and the bees.
I would forgive those who wronged me, or at least try my hardest to forgive most of them, because forgiving them all is impossible for a weak soul such as myself.
Each morning, on my bus ride to work, I would think of at least three things for which I was grateful for. I would volunteer my time to help others less fortunate than myself. I would start writing to share my hardships with others, so they may be able to avoid the mistakes I have made in my life.
I would create for myself, an attitude of abundance.
I divulged myself onto this journey, for at least the last six months of my life. I didn’t have some ultimate purpose of what I wanted to achieve. I didn’t know what direction I was heading. Actually, to be quite frank, I didn’t even know what I was doing.
Suddenly, things began to change.
As I awoke each morning, I began to realize, that I was becoming happier as the days went by. As I started to write, I became more and more confident. Others even began to take notice, and helped support me on my journey. My toxic friends had left my life, and they were replaced with genuine heartfelt people whom wanted to see me happy.
Reflecting back to where I was, seven and a half years ago, I think back and wonder… How is it that, I could be here today, with absolutely nothing, yet I could be so genuinely happy?
My income had not changed. I had not attained more worldly possessions. I was not even nearly as far ahead in life as I was back in 2006, when I had everything I had thought I wanted. Yet, for some reason, here I am today. Here I am, feeling fulfilled.
I have not earned a single penny more than I did from where I was, two years ago, when I wanted to end it all. I have not purchased more of the worldly things I had thought I wanted through my entire life. I am still earning a third of the income I had become accustomed to. I work at an entry level job with no hopes for a promotion. Yet, deep down, I’m truly happy.
In the last few months, I have done a lot of reflecting.
I thought back about my grandfather, Robert L. Landis, and the person he was in his life. I remembered how he never had a worry and how happy he was, even though he had fought in three wars. All he wanted to do was share his love not only with me, but with the entire world. I remembered how much he was loved, even up until the day he died.
Back story here:
I remembered back on some concepts my old mentor had taught me, yet were too simple and profound for me to understand. I remembered when he had told me, that without expectations, there is no disappointment. I remembered when he had also told me that if I chose to live life as an experience, I would have no limitations.
Back story here:
These concepts finally clicked in my mind. I finally was able to understand what he was trying to tell me, back in 2006 when I had everything I thought I wanted. I was finally able to make sense of it all. I was finally able to shed myself out of being defined by what I had, and was able to define myself by who I am instead.
It feels as if…
There is an actually meaning, or purpose to my life. It feels that I am here, to actually make a difference. It feels that I am here, to help others, who have failed much like I have, and influence their regrowth. It feels that I am here, to lift others up, especially when they fall. It feels, that I am here, to help them reach their journey to happiness.
The funny thing is, that when I look back to where I was on May 15, 2013… I had zero goals and had absolutely no clue what I was doing with my life. I was just going to try something new. I was just going to experiment with something, to write my first post, to see if people liked what I had to say.
First post seen here:
- If you had told me that I would have made friends in each continent, all over the world, I would roll my eyes at you.
- If you had asked me if I thought I would have written 958 posts on this website, I would have looked at you as if you were crazy.
- If you had asked me if I thought I would have 2,744 people who were interested in what I had to say, I would stare at you with so much disbelief, that I might have needed to get new prescription for my eyeglasses.
- If you had asked me if I thought that I would have 1.54m views in just half a year, I would’ve told you to leave me alone, because you were full of it.
I tried to accomplish these things for businesses before.
Yet, I always fell straight on my face, with my head buried so deep into the dirt, I thought I was an ostrich hiding from a deadly predator, hoping to be unseen. I tried to gain influence by talking about how successful and flawless I was, yet someone always broke through my exterior shell and shattered it to pieces, since it was all just a charade to begin with. I tried to attain great wealth and success on multiple occasions, yet I was always beaten back to the ground, even deeper than from whence I began.
I expected to acquire everything I could in the world, yet the world wanted nothing to do with me. I wasn’t living my life as an experience. Instead, I was living a life dedicated to my self imposed goals, or limitations as I call them. In turn, my expectations that I had placed on myself led to my disappointment. Led to my failure. Led to my defeat.
It was only when, I had rid myself of all these worldly needs, that I was able to achieve the beginning marks of true success, or should I say true happiness. I hope that, you too, are able to find happiness on the journey to the destination you are intended to arrive at as well.
Originally posted on Quora.
Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.