If I can just get a little bit more ahead, then I’ll be satisfied.
If I can just close that next sale, then I’ll really be ahead of the game.
If only I had just a few more dollars, then I’d truly be set.
Give me a break.
I don’t believe it for a second. And neither should you.
“As You Think, So Shall You Become” – Bruce Lee
Sometimes enough is just that; enough.
But if you’re always chasing that next mile marker, you will never find peace.
When you’re constantly unsatisfied with your results, regardless of how spectacular they may be, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
And not in the positive John C. Maxwell Failing Forward young entrepreneur failure kind of way.
It’s the kind of failure that leaves you feeling as though you lead a life without purpose.
You’re setting yourself up for extreme disappointment.
Here is why; your motivation is external, i.e the results.
And externalities aren’t lasting.
Motivation must be intrinsically driven.
Let me rephrase that; it must be intrinsically driven in order to truly feel purpose.
The Happiness Trap
I’ve heard people talk about seeking true happiness and yet happiness is fleeting by nature.
It’s an externally focused endpoint.
But I’m here to tell you, there’s something else. (echo)
You can always see the sun, day or…
Ok you get it.
Joy is true devotion to life’s purpose.
And not a reaction to circumstantial evidence.
Joy can sustain itself in the deepest and darkest of valleys, when the flood water is constantly rising. When you feel like you won’t make it out alive.
Joy is present in pain and pleasure.
Happiness is not. It could blow away in a gentle breeze.
It could peek through on a cloudy day, only to be gone without a moment’s notice.
Why would you focus on something so inconsequential as happiness when joy is so full and vibrant?
If happiness is your goal, you’re discounting the definitive internal forces that drive each and every one of us.
You’re leaving yourself empty and open to be filled with feelings of despair and depression.
So when you get that next client, you’re still going to be empty on the inside.
And that appetite will never be quenched.
You will never be quenched.
You are truly insatiable.
But How Much Does Joy Cost?
Nothing in life is free, except maybe those little samples at Costco. But technically you drove there and paid your Costco membership so with time factored, add in the gas, carry the 1, the cost of your membership…
So not free. Joy is no different in that regard.
There is a steep price tag for joy. But boy is it refreshing.
Imagine the feeling of running around a track on hot humid day. You’re sticky, irritable from the sweat drenched clothing you’re wearing, and the thickness of the air is all but unbearable.
Now picture a cool bottle of water waiting on the side of the track. Imagine pressing it up against your lips and the instant satisfaction as you begin to drink.
It reminds you why we absolutely need water.
It’s life affirming.
That’s joy. It’s the water.
The earning and retaining of joy is brought to you by life, featured here in my metaphor by the running on an unbearably hot day during the middle of summer in Charleston.
Joy Is So Much More Than Anything
In order for joy to be present in your life, true joy that is, you must experience pain.
You have to go to a very dark place and not allow it to turn you to the dark side.
The dark side is frustration and embitterment.
It’s the side of life where everything and everyone is out to get you.
How do you keep from turning to the dark side, you may ask?
By giving up your natural right to the driver’s seat and turning over all your faith in the world, in solutions, and in your surroundings to God.
Even when the absolute worst circumstances are crashing down upon you, you must surrender.
Because recognition of your complete and utter inability to really ever have control over your own life is the best way to not be moved by those crashing waves.
Rather, it’s allowing your being centered to not be dependent upon those waves, but to be internally driven and eternally focused.
It allows you the opportunity to detach from your circumstances and to be thankful for all the things you do have.
Shelter, your health, water, food.
It’s not about, “Well, it could be worse!”
It’s just being thankful for life itself.
How Do I Determine Success?
I’m not saying give up.
I’m not telling you to stop setting goals.
In fact, I’m telling you to do the exact opposite.
I’m telling you to absolutely make goals but to change your goalposts.
Your goalposts need to be built upon the rock and not the sand.
Happiness is built upon the sand. It’s a temporary feeling that comes and goes as it pleases.
When the tide washes in, the sand disappears.
Joy is the house that is built upon the bedrock of the framework of our lives.
It’s built upon the desire to be loved by something way bigger than us. We must turn over our control to that bigger and better purpose and just be.
Ditch the insatiable desire to always have more. And even be more.
Set your goals, take your steps one by one just like the rest of us, but be thankful for every stumble and graceful stride you take.
Because it’s all you really have.