Think of something you want so badly in your life.
Now ask yourself, is that really what I want? Or could there be more to it that I'm not aware of?
Let's just imagine this scenario. You're dead set on saving up enough money to take your whole family - let's say 5 of you - on a first-class round trip to the destination of your choice. Two full weeks of adventure after adventure, and you're paying for it because you've worked your butt off to save for the trip.
You're committed to getting these tickets. You do whatever it takes, and you don't stop until you and your family are all on the plane, in first class, 30,000 feet in the sky. Only then can you be happy knowing you've achieved your goal.
Okay, that sounds incredible and actually something I would be interested in doing with my future family.
However - and this is a big however - if you make your happiness completely dependent on flying first-class, and therefore limit the joy you can experience now because you're not there yet, then you're setting yourself up for a dangerous life.
This applies not just to the first-class round trip family plane tickets. It's the car. It's the house. It's the job. It's the age. It's the party. It's the dinner. It's the nap. It's basically everything that ISN'T what is right in front of us. And THAT'S the dangerous part.
Think about it. What if you save up all the money needed, you buy the tickets, and you and your whole family are literally on the plane, in beautiful first class, up in the air, and then suddenly...
BOOM! The plane loses and engine! And, to make matters worse, you're over the middle of the Atlantic ocean. What now? You're still on the plane. You're still in first class. You're still flying. The only difference now is, something you didn't want to happen, happened, and it was completely out of your control.
Oh I'd be scared shitless too. No doubt about that. I'm scared thinking about it.
But now we can identify two conditions for your happiness, not just one. You needed to be sitting in first class with your family up in the sky, and the plane couldn't lose an engine. And guess what? There were probably many other conditions too.
You wanted the stewardesses to be perfectly nice but not too smothering. You wanted there to be no turbulence. You wanted the food to be delicious. You wanted your kids to enjoy it. You wanted your spouse to look at you with the most loving eyes and not say a word yet tell you they love you with all their heart. You wanted to sleep on the plane. You wanted to wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready to go upon landing. You didn't want to feel tired. You didn't want your kids to argue. And you sure as hell didn't want an engine to blow over the middle of the ocean.
Pretty soon, you realize you didn't just want the first class ticket. You wanted everything out of your control to happen just right so you could feel joy, and if it didn't, then you would be unhappy.
You see, you don't just want that one thing in order to be happy. You want everything to go right. And that's what it means to make your happiness depend on the external world. That's what it means to live a life of "style" rather than "substance."
I'm not saying it's easy to be A-okay if any one of those things above happens, let alone all of them. But that's how most of us go through life. We make our happiness so cheap, dependent on everything external. I've done it my whole life, but I'm waking up to a better way to live and sharing that journey with you.
If you're tired fighting with life in order to be happy, join me on my journey to cultivating fulfillment within. Learn about spirituality. Learn what it means to be the observer of your mind, and not be your mind. Learn what it means to be aware of your stress, and not become your stress.
Learn to watch your thoughts and emotions like a movie, without using them to create your identity.
I'm learning that now, and it's quite liberating.
Thank you for reading.
Live with substance!