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Happiness within the hunt

Posted by on July 13, 2011

Anyone from the celebrities in Beverly Hills to the homeless people they might step over on their way into Starbucks can tell you life is tough.  Its no mystery.

We come into this world totally clueless, and then effectively spend the remaining years on earth just trying to figure shit out. Life may as well just be one Ikea furniture assembly after another.  Just fumbling around with the allan key hoping this new lamp stays together, before moving onto the living room set.

But lately I’ve been falling into discussions with people about what are the reasons that some people continually take tips from the lazy man’s guide to the human existence, while others really try to make somethings of themselves?

And one of the more interesting ideas was that its not so much choosing the easier path, but avoiding the more difficult one. Fear is the most likely factor.

It’s certainly not a secret that  human beings, as a species, aren’t great decision makers.  We’re irrational, emotional, short-term oriented, fearful of the wrong things (see: shark attacks and gay marriage) and dominated by an overwhelming desire to take the path of least resistance.

Therefore, if we experience early in our lives that we can lie to ourselves and/or avoid our problems and not have to deal with any consequences then it only makes sense that this will be our operating principles for the remainder of our lives.

We face difficult, life changing decisions every day.  No matter if its the first day of a new diet, quitting smoking, staying on a diet, or being a better person (father, girlfriend, friend, employee, human being). Everyday there are small decisions that could potentially change your life.

And unfortunately, it’s much, MUCH easier to just slug it through life and slip into habits, patterns, jobs, and relationships that we truly are not satisfied in.   As I look at the many successful people I have met over the past few years I find one theme is fairly common… these people have formed habits and lifestyles that allow them to make better decisions every single day.

They surround themselves with peers and mentors that encourage positive yet difficult decision making, and that means deciding to work more and be more productive.  I am still struggling with this but I am getting better.

Getting up everyday and working towards a difficult goal is not easy.  Collecting a paycheck and avoiding bumping into your boss for 30 years, that’s easy.  One of the biggest things I have learned is that it is typically the better decision to move forward with something grandly ambitious at half-quality to get the ball-rolling, than to sit back and nitpick at the details waiting for perfection, or that “perfect idea”.

Because here’s the secret…

Perfect doesn’t exist.  Anywhere.

Hemingway once said that the first draft of anything is terrible (this explains my blog, which is made entirely of first drafts, haha).

The experience of starting something and learning from the mistakes you make during that process and correcting course is where brilliance is born.

Scientists have, more recently, discovered that happiness within the definition of brain science, comes, not from achieving a goal, but from working towards a challenging and worthwhile goal.  Its comes in the hunt for greatness.

Achievement is short-lived, and is usually only used as fodder for self-confidence while working towards another goal.

We can lie back and hide in the shadows of our own lives to pretend that avoiding difficult decisions and challenges is making life better for ourselves, or we can stand-up and accept the fact that true happiness comes only within the possibility for greatness.

There is a world of people waiting for something amazing to happen to them, and then there are those finding ways to make it happen. And right now, there are so many “wait-ers” that making it happen is getting easier and easier.

Good luck with your hunt!

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