What matters most varies from person to person.
Often it’s our children. Our family. Our friends. Our faith.
We value our pets. Our homes. Our jobs. Our money. Our cars.
We’re passionate about our hobbies and interests. Our pursuit of fun. Adventure. Pleasure.
But what really counts?
I’ve been thinking about this for a couple weeks because of two things I read.
The first was this great blog post by Seth Godin, titled What kind of media counts?
In the post, Godin writes about how actors would rather be cast in low-rated cable television shows than appear in YouTube videos that will be seen by millions.
Godin writes about famous newspaper columnists that look down at bloggers—even though there are bloggers (like Godin, himself) with significantly more readers and impact than the columnists have.
He writes about how television didn’t count when radio ruled. How cable TV didn’t count when network sitcoms were all the rage.
His point? The definition of “what counts” will always change and evolve. And we need to think about which line we want to stand in.
The second thing I read that really has my wheels turning is James Altucher’s Choose Yourself.
Altucher might come off a little radical to some people. He’s anything but conventional. But as I read him, and I read some of the more “outrageous” or unconventional things he espouses, and then think about them, my initial reaction is never: “That guy is wrong.”
I always just nod.
This guy makes so much sense, it frightens me.
I brought it up a week ago today when I was losing it and wrote about some overdue library books I had at home.
I’m beginning to question so many things about my life. About how much it makes sense for me to go to work every day so I can just have enough money to pay for my house to sleep in, and my vehicle to get me to my job.
That’s it. A cycle of senseless suck.
It BEGS the question: Does any of this make sense?
Every day is one day closer to my death. Every day I’m running out of time.
The hourglass is always spilling from top to bottom. And if I knew I only had one week, or one month, or one year, or whatever to live, how would I choose to spend that time?
What Makes Us Happy?
I always cringe a little when I write about happiness. Especially after yesterday when I labeled feelings “bullshit.” I do not want to come off hypocritical, but I hope people can appreciate the distinction between how we feel about our human relationships versus our never-ending quest as human beings to pursue happiness.
Happy is just a word. It’s a word we use to describe a feeling. And it’s the feeling we have when things are going really well in our lives, or when we feel peace, or love, or pleasure, or fun, or some combination.
Our happiness is triggered by a variety of things and it varies greatly from person to person.
I’ve been asking myself a lot lately: What makes me happy?
I don’t have a comprehensive list. But here’s a brief overview:
1. I feel happy when I’m with my son and we’re getting along.
2. I feel happy when I’m with a woman who makes me feel loved and wanted.
3. I feel happy when I’m in good physical condition.
4. I feel happy when I am spiritually balanced—when I don’t feel dark and disconnected because I’m not living the way I believe I should.
5. I feel happy when I’m connected to friends and family. When I’m physically present with them, laughing and sharing moments.
6. I feel happy when I travel, exploring new places or revisiting places I love.
7. I feel happy when I do things for other people.
8. I feel happy when people appreciate and acknowledge the work I do—both here and professionally. It feels nice to have your efforts validated.
9. I feel happy when I have financial peace.
So, here’s the question: What really counts?
How important is my house? How important is my job?
Shouldn’t I ONLY spend my time pursuing the things on this list? Isn’t everything else meaningless and wasteful?
I don’t know. But I think it might be.
I think I waste a lot of time. I think I procrastinate. I think I rob myself of the joy of feeling happy by not taking small steps that will accomplish many of the things on this list.
I think I’m running out of time. I think that life is precious. I think that I want to be so much more than I am.
I want my life to have mattered. I want my life to be substantive. I want my life to be happy.
I’m chasing it. That dream.
We all are, really.
Do you feel stuck on the hamster wheel, like me? Just running in place all the time but never really getting anywhere?
What makes you happy?
Don’t you owe it to yourself and to the people you love to pursue those things? With vigor?
Of course you do.
Think. Pray. Feel. Love.
Choose yourself. Be grateful.
Find the best-possible you. Maybe help someone else find theirs.
This is your pursuit of happiness.
It happens once in a lifetime.
So please figure out what really matters to you.
Then make it count.