Someone on Quora had asked me:
“Is happiness overrated? I have almost everything I ever wanted or envisioned myself to have at this age.. Probably even more than what I thought I could have. I am content but not happy. Something is missing. I often have nightmares. Have you faced a similar situation? How did you overcome that?
27 yr old happy married lady with a loving spouse, dream job and comfortable living. I am content yet not happy.”
This is how I responded:
“There are only two tragedies in life, one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” Oscar Wilde
I’ve been where you are. I had a six figure income, a girlfriend I loved with all my heart, a life I was basically content with, yet I wasn’t happy. I had strived to be at the top. To reach heights that I thought would change my life. But I didn’t.
After the dust settled away, I reflected back and thought, “That’s it?”
I went through all this hard work to get everything I thought I wanted, and this is really it? My life hasn’t really changed at all. Is this a trick? Is there some type of deception here? Why am I missing my happiness?
It took me years of reflection, trials, tribulations, and heartbreaks, to finally realize that happiness is not a destination. It is something we must find from within.
This is what I did to find my happiness. Will it work for you? Who in the world knows. However, it worked for me.
What I’m going to share with you is so simple, that it just might be dismissed. I mean, I dismissed it many times when I first heard it. Yet, I thought of another simple task that made a world of a difference. Brushing our teeth.
That simple task, twice a day, can keep cavities away and keep our smiles bright. Yet, if we never brush our teeth, they just rot away.
So anyways, I followed these simple steps.
I made sure the essentials were covered. I slept eight hours a day. I ate at least two meals. I exercised. I made sure there was a roof over my head.
Then I moved to my emotional needs. I meditated to clear my mind. When I woke up each morning, I thought of at least three things I was grateful for. I forgave the people who had wronged me. I connected with my heart to others.
Then I moved to my mind. Instead of living in the past, or hoping for the future, I forgot all of it. I decided to live in the present. Right here and now. I took my time as I went out, to smell the flowers, to watch the squirrel climb up the tree, to examine the leaves on a tree as the seasons changed. I also decided to volunteer my time and help others. Just today, I participated in the epilepsy walk at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and I bought a Thanksgiving meal for a homeless family. I even included a card that said “You are loved. Every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around. Believe in yourself and there will come a time when everyone can do nothing but believe in you as well.”
I say, try out these simple things. You don’t have to do anything like I did. Just buy the person behind you at line in Starbucks a coffee. Give a homeless person a bagel. Whatever it may be.
Just take time and focus on yourself. Then true happiness will emerge.
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.