Quite some time ago I wrote an article called ‘Successful – now do you want to be happy?’ and this is a new version, hence the title!
The seed for this article was sown when someone approached me for coaching and wanted me to help him create a new, compelling vision, mission and business plan.
Before deciding if I could help I was curious about what he thought this would give him. Despite his current business being successful and having no real issues in his life he shared with me that he had been feeling discontented, frustrated and unhappy for some time.
His idea was that he needed to create a bigger and more successful business. Something he could really get his teeth into so he could deeply immerse himself in the new project and put all his energy into it.
I shared that I didn’t think a bigger vision was the answer he was looking for. I said that I was sure he was capable of creating a business twice the size of the one he had and that would be a great achievement.
But it wouldn’t give him what he thought it would.
The project would have been a distraction tactic. It would have occupied his mind but as soon as his mind was not on the project he would more than likely be back to where he was.
The real issue was a misunderstanding.
It is so easy to think of success as something that occurs in the external world and that it will lead to happiness.
For instance, when we accomplish a goal we allow ourselves feelings of success and happiness. Of course, it can be wonderful to fulfil an ambition and yet whenever we reflect upon our achievements we’ll notice that the feelings don’t last.
That is because feelings don’t come from the outside. Chasing external goals is often the innocent attempt to find the deeper feelings of inner peace, love, gratitude, connection and aliveness that we naturally want to gravitate towards.
These feelings are found within and have no relationship with our external life.
But what if I’m not feeling them? What if my experience of life is one of often feeling tense, unhappy or anxious? What then?
What sets us free is FACT, not FICTION.
Fiction is believing that circumstances are causing our feelings. This is the ill-logic that creates all our suffering. Even though our thoughts and feelings can be extremely intense, compelling and consuming they are not caused or created by our circumstances. Yes, we will still get caught out by the illusion that they do, but it is still an illusion.
The fact is that life ONLY works one way – from the inside out. We feel our thinking, not our circumstances. When we see this truth and know it, then we are free.
One of those freedoms is that we will stop looking for happiness outside of ourselves.
I have heard some people have expressed the concern that if they are not chasing after a goal then they will lose their motivation.
But I have not seen this happen. It simply means that we are free to create whatever we want because we no longer see the need to fill our time chasing an illusion.