Updated: May 25, 2018
Remember those high school days when you were forced to study all day long, going into one classroom after another?
Some of them would be invigorating, like the lab for the future doctor or the theatre for the future actress. Others would be daunting, like the gym for the future poet or the chalkboard for the future baseball player.
We remember the athletes, and admired their precision and strength. We remember the academics, and wondered how it was possible to retain so much knowledge. We remember that one classmate whom the whole school beloved, and wonder if their charm would ever rub off on us.
But can you truthfully remember who was the happiest? It could have been the guy who won all the games...but he could have been drowning from pressure by his coaches.
It could have been the girl who got all of the A’s...but she could have been equating her validation solely by her grades. It could have even been the class clown...but he could have been the unhappiest of them all.
What we all should have bonded over is the fact that achievement is limited and will never bring us real happiness. Striving for excellence is a sign of discipline, but when we neglect our internal perspectives and only assess the outside forces-- we forget about the happiness within ourselves.
We see it happening every day. From the movies telling men that their achievements are predicated on only on their work advancements-- to social media rating women’s validation based upon their appearances.
The pressures are so subtle, that we don’t even realize that we are constantly competing for more achievements. Even within personal circles like friends, families, and co-workers-- somebody is always pulling ahead of the rest.
We try to keep up with the pace and take the next steps in our work and relationships. We think that if we work harder or strengthen our beliefs, that we will finally find happiness.
The problem with this cycle that has perpetuated in society since the early stages of our lives, is that we have allowed external circumstances to decide our happiness, contentment, and fulfillment.
Think about how our lives might have been different if we had all took a “Happiness 101” class and learned that no person, thing, or circumstance could determine our happiness.
This would radically shift students striving for achievement out of the fear of failure or hopes of happiness, to striving for achievement out of freedom.
What if we knew that our achievements are the results of our best efforts and not a reflection of our identity or value as a person? Think of all the unnecessary striving and frustration we would have saved along the way if we knew this from the beginning.
The good news? Learning never ends, and The Happiness Map challenge has just began. We invite you to join us over these 31 Days to Change Your Life.
We promise to give you an actionable guideline to find happiness in your life, starting today.
Over the next four weeks, we will break down our 4x4 Happiness Model® and dive deeper into the four coordinates: Finances, Family, Community, and Physical.
To join us on this journey, please sign up for our “5 Habits of Happiness” email in which will be distribute expert advice each Friday morning. Leave us a comment below and let us hear your voice!
Maybe we all missed “Happiness 101” in high school, but tomorrow is a new day. So, grab your notes and get your book-- class is in session.