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The Journey to Happiness.
Happiness is not found in some imaginary place far away. Happiness is found where we are right now. It is standing right in front of us hoping we notice it.
Happiness that occurs because something happened is short-lived; it is fleeting, it goes away. Because shortly thereafter, we usually set new goals for ourselves. As humans, we are made this way; our eyes are always looking at a never-ending horizon.
For the most part, this human tendency is good. It is how we discover things, and it is how we meet people we never would have otherwise. But this habit of always looking for the ‘next thing’ also comes with a catch. The catch is that true fulfillment cannot be had by arriving in some magical place. There is no magical place except the place where we are now.
The Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho, once said,
“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
What Coelho meant is that real excitement and meaning comes in the steps between not having a dream and having your dream come true. Essentially, they come from the magical chapters in the middle of our story. Because like any good story, these are the chapters that create suspense and wonder.
If we want to find true joy, we should try to maintain this suspense and wonder throughout our lives. We should try to remember that the end is not, and can never be, the best part. The best part is the journey we are on now; the journey where we are trying to make magic and dreams come true because we believe they can come true.
This does not mean that accomplishing things does not feel nice, because it does. It feels great accomplishing things we knew we would, and it feels even better accomplishing things we never knew we could. But these feelings do not last very long. Maybe we will feel good for a few minutes or, if we are lucky, a few hours. Soon after, we will set new goals and dreams for ourselves, which will set us off on another journey in our never-ending story.
In light of this, the real happiness we are looking for might be found by simply remembering that it occurs before something happens, not because something happened. In other words, happiness is when we realize the best chapters of a story are the ones in between the beginning and the end. It is when we realize these chapters are already happening.
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What I am reading -
This week I read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.
The last time I read this book was in 7th grade, which was over 16 years ago. I remember being assigned it in school and I loved it so much I read it twice, which meant a lot because as a kid I was not an avid reader. I think this was the first book that showed me reading could be enjoyable.
The book is a coming-of-age story about a boy, named Ponyboy, who grows up on the Eastside of town and who feels like an outsider because of it. The story involves him learning that people are more similar than he thought, no matter where they come from. One of the most memorable parts for me is when Ponyboy asks a girl from the Westside whether she can see the sunset from where she lives and she tells him that she can. He then thinks to himself,
“It seemed funny to me that the sunset she saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two different worlds we lived in weren't so different. We saw the same sunset.”
What I am listening to -
This week I listened to Tim Ferris’ podcast episode #503 with Walter Isaacson.
Walter is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; Steve Jobs; and his new book The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race.
After listening to this episode, I felt very hopeful about our future. Walter explains how we are on the verge of experiencing a scientific revolution, much like the internet revolution that preceded it. On top of that, Tim and Walter talk about curiosity and they explore the seemingly blurred line between the arts and sciences.
To listen to my latest podcast episode, click here.
For a copy of my poetry book, click here.
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