When I make lots of money, I'll finally be happy.
This is what I truly used to think, but recently I discovered a new method for success that forever changed my perspective.
What many of us incorrectly believe is that to be happy, we have to do things and have things.
For college students, we have to study, study, study at school so we can maintain that high GPA. Then with that high GPA we move on to that coveted internship. Then we work, work, work until we secure that elusive job position.
Then, for employees, we toil away to earn money so that we can be happy. That's usually how it works.
See a pattern here? We continuously tie our happiness to these goals, and we make ourselves believe that we can't be happy until we've achieved them.
But in these cases, what is happiness? It would appear that happiness is just working to get money so that we can pay bills and debts so that we can more easily get to work to get money so that we can pay bills and debts so that we can more easily get to... You get the picture. That doesn't seem like true happiness to me.
Maybe some people are truly happy in this standing: toiling away at a job so they can make lots of money and have lots of nice things. But for me, I would rather live by different principles. I would rather enjoy what I do during the process AND during the results. What if -- now bear with me here -- what if rather than doing things to be happy, we were happy so that we can do things.
“What if rather than doing things to be happy, we were happy so that we can do things.”
Now where did I get such a wild idea?
In Vishen Lahkiani's The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, readers are exposed to what it means to "bend reality" as he calls it. What Lahkiani refers to is the state in which you perfectly balance your happiness and your goals for the future.
In a society where the majority of people believe you have to do things to be happy, the inspirational entrepreneur behind MindValley.com insists that we switch this statement around. By "being happy in the now," he says, "balanced evenly with visions for the future, it's like your happiness becomes fuel that pushes you towards achieving those goals."
So what is being "happy in the now"?
MindValley's CEO stresses an important truth: we must be happy in order to achieve our goals, BUT we cannot unbalance the scale between happiness in the now and visions for the future. If we focus too much on immediate enjoyment, we lose sight of our beautiful goals, and if we focus too much on the future, we are left incapable of achieving them because we lack the mental capabilities to take the first steps in making those dreams a reality.
“We cannot unbalance the scale between happiness in the now and visions for the future.”
How am I supposed to just start being happy and achieving all the goals I've dreamed of?
Putting all of this together may seem like a daunting task, but it's actually quite simple and intuitive. The most direct way to answer the above question would be this: Take the opportunities you get to enjoy yourself in the moment because with your increased current happiness, your mind will open up to discovering new ways to achieve those goals you have. The experiences will help you learn and grow in ways that would've never been possible unless you took the chance to be happy now.
Who knows, maybe while you're hanging out at a pool party with some friends, you may meet someone who has just the right connection to get your new start-up business going. (A lot of good deals can be made in a hot tub!)
Perhaps you're an employee stuck in the never ending nine-to-five cycle. Without enjoying the experience you have at work, without working with people who you truly care about and who truly care about you, and without genuinely having a sense of meaning at your job, you can never achieve your goals and true happiness. You need to find ways to make work a fun experience, you need to surround yourself with people who care about you, and you need to find meaning in your work. If you can't do that in your current position, maybe it's time that you found another. Then, you can find the key to happiness and achieve your future goals.
Or perhaps you're a college student that has been anxiously stressed about studying for an upcoming exam, such as the MCAT, the LSAT, or the DAT. Pessimistically worrying won't make you any progress, but taking some time off to relax and meet with friends will open up your mind to being able to take in more information and to find new learning strategies. Maybe you will come across another student who's in the same boat. Maybe that student will share some study tips that you've never thought of, and before you know it, you've aced your test and made a new friend! The possibilities of what happiness can accomplish are endless, but only if your goals for the future are pulling you forward.
So the message to take away here is this: Be happy now, so that you can accomplish your goals for the future.
As a student myself,
I am constantly learning and growing, and this life principle is one of the best I ever adopted. Heck, after deciding to take on every new day with an optimistic mindset, after surrounding myself with people who care about me and teach me new things, and after finding meaning in what I do, I have accomplished incredible things. I was accepted to my dream school with scholarships to all of those that I applied for. I've become even closer with my friends and family, I've discovered how to openly learn from the greatest minds of our time, and I've made realistic, achievable goals for my future that I know I can accomplish through happiness.
Remember, as directly quoted from Vishen Lahkiani's new book:
"We shouldn't do things so we can be happy. We should be happy so we can do things."
Below you will find a video of Vishen giving a talk about how to "bend reality" to your favor: