I hate when people say “do what makes you happy.” Happiness is not the end goal.
I’m at my peak happiest when I’m in Walt Disney World, spending $500 for a couples’ massage, having an unlimited budget to buy whatever I want. I’m happiest at a Cher concert singing along to “If I Could Turn Back Time.” But I cant follow Cher around the world. I can’t drop $500 on a couples massage outside of my honeymoon, or tickets to go to Walt Disney World whenever I want. Eventually, I’ll have to come home. Eventually, that concert’s going to end. That’s why happiness is not the answer. Connectivity is.
Anyone can grab passages of happiness. That’s why the tourism industry is so successful. Temporary moments can bring immense joy. But what about the moments when life is bad? When moments seem irreconcilable? What about on the days when you feel unfulfilled? These are the days — the moments — when it’s not happiness that propels you forward; it’s connectivity.
Connectivity means being connected with oneself. Playing guitar makes you happy, but if you’re in a rut, if you’re experiencing that mental block, you can’t enjoy even picking it up. You’re numb to the feeling of the strings between fingers. You’re not connected to yourself. You’re wasting time, wasting emotions on something — on someone — that doesn’t matter. Those are the only moments that spur a loss of direction. Instead of channeling all your energy into what propels you forward, you’re trapped in a vicious cycle of allowing someone else guide your map.
What propels you forward? Thinking about the trajectory of your life and if it could go any way you wanted — if there were no rules, no limitations, no mothers to please — what is it you want if such a perfect situation existed? You’ll be surprised to find that it’s not an abundance of money, not a life-long opportunity to travel, to be away from home, that’s going to make you feel connected. It’s the situations that are entirely in your control.
Working for a better boss, for example, isn’t really about wanting to work for someone with a better personality; it’s about working in an environment where your ideas are heard, an environment where you can thrive, an environment where you’re not discarded. That’s the difference between connectivity and happiness. Happiness is a change of pace, an interval. Connectivity is what genuinely makes you feel valued. It’s what makes you feel like you’re home.