Some people believe that if we lived in a perfect world we would get everything we asked for. Many people want money, fame, a perfect job, and the list goes on. These same people will probably tell you their one major goal in life is to be happy. While this is a great aspiration to have, I’ve come to realize that many are going about their pursuit of happiness the entirely wrong way or for the entirely wrong reasons. Nowadays, we believe that happiness is associated with tangible “things”, like a fast car, the newest version of the iPhone (that doesn’t look all too different than the last…), or maybe that new pair of shoes that just seems to continuously pop up on your Instagram feed. As humans, we crave experience by our very nature, not “stuff”. And as a marketing major, I’ve learned a lot about consumer behavior. Something so intriguing to me is that marketers are taught to create an experience that can truly connect with people on an emotional level. If you look at Nike, for example, they sell shoes, a commodity, for crying out loud. If their advertisements told you they sold a comfortable shoe in a variety of styles, you would probably not be all that interested. Instead, Nike tells you why and how this product can change your life, and you suddenly feel drawn to the shoe. Because of their superior marketing strategies, when you think of Nike you believe that you can become the athlete you’ve always dreamt of being.
Anyways, where am I going with all of this you ask? I believe that our generation is striving for happiness, but they are taking the wrong routes to get there. If you ask me, we all need to work on understanding what activities and people make us feel truly alive. Whether this is discovered through meditation, journaling, or whatever it may be, that is up to you, but the moral of the story is that happiness will only lie in bettering oneself, one day at a time.
- What am I devoting my time to?
- Do I have enough room in my schedule for me-time?
- How do my hobbies and my peers make me feel?
- Are some of my time-commitments a waste of my energy?
- Am I in an environment that will allow me to reach my goals and aspirations?
If you think you are wasting your ever-so-valuable time, it may be a good idea to reevaluate your current situation.
It is so important to understand that you are not being selfish when you make the decision to stop allocating your energy to things that don’t bring you satisfaction anymore. Don’t ever believe that just because your life is taking you down one path, that this is the path you are meant to stay on forever.
There are very few things in life that follow a clear, black and white, linear pattern. When it comes to things like healing or learning, there will be many challenges that arise out of the blue. Going back to the point I made earlier, many people believe that an ideal world would present everything you ask for on a silver platter. But I disagree. I honestly think that the journey you take is so much more important than the destination. We all face struggles of some sort, but if you think back to situations where you were challenged in some way I’m sure you can think of a number of lessons you got out of the experience. The bumps in the road are what build our character and can actually show us so much about ourselves. For example, sometimes it can take people years to finally realize they are on a career path that they are just not interested in anymore. And that is okay. It’s never too late to make a change in your life, no matter how large, if it will be beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing.
The key to feeling totally fulfilled, in my opinion, is to be honest with yourself when it comes to what you are passionate about, and then figure out a plan to get there. Stop going after “stuff” that will only bring short-lived bliss, and stop wasting your precious energy on situations that don’t make you feel totally and utterly fulfilled. Continue to pursue experiences that bring you purpose. You know that rush you get from that Nike ad that makes you feel like you could run a marathon by simply Just Do(ing) It? Chase that feeling and implement it into your everyday life, and I promise you, you’ll be happy.