I like the ‘gap between have and want’ comment. Look up Shawn Achor, who has studied happiness extensively at Harvard. He talks about how we constantly move our boundaries and milestones. If we make $80K we want $90K. We never learn to enjoy $80K. We always create this gap in ourselves so we’re perpetually unhappy.
Where I think we continue to fail is in becoming insightful about what actually makes us as individuals happy. We at large have terrible personal insight. We still think it’s stuff….or being busy…or having a series of endless instagram moments. It’s all stuff that forms our packaging to the outside world which means we define success to a large degree by how others perceive us. We choose to ignore that that level of admiration is both fleeting and not fulfilling, yet we continue to pursue those metrics.
So, yes, the learning to care less about what others think is probably at the top of the food chain. Shedding that burden allows you to turn inward and start a proper journey of self discovery.
What we also have to learn is that happiness is not a destination. It’s a byproduct of the journey of becoming at peace with who we are, what we are becoming and the choices we have made in life. Focus on that stuff and happiness will suddenly appear.