People set goals and targets for several reasons. While some hope it will make them better achievers, some others put all of their aspirations and happiness on their goals. “Perhaps if I pass my MBBS, I will be a happy person,” Shola said, as she replaced her books on her shelf lazily, and dumped herself on the bed.
Nothing is as it is, even the pool of water you see on the highway. You think to yourself “there it is, I finally have it, It will definitely heal my thirst.” Too bad, because just like an illusion, you will never grasp it.
We have more hope on goals we are yet to achieve, than the achievements we have in the bag. Is it because our doubt of ourselves, have eroded what is left of our confidence. To the extent that we think; “this rent I paid is not enough an achievement, after all, Ebube pays more expensive rent and still bought a car.”
The biggest thief of our happiness is not the comparison, it is that we never always get the model of comparison right. If we must compare across two variables, say Variable A(your life) and B(Ebube’s life), then you must be able to factor in all the elements.
What about the time a friend asked you for some money and out of your savings, you gave him or her a large chunk to pay hospital bills for his or her mother. Maybe you should add that.
Let me remind you of the other time you had to send money home abruptly because you cannot afford to hear your cousins are out of school. Perhaps I should remind you about how you have been spending on a business that has not taken off, just like every other successful entrepreneur.
The comparison is not the thief of happiness as they say. The real thief is our inability to correctly factor in all the variables. Truth is, there are a lot of the variables. You just survived an illness, you have to factor that in. But then, in your simplistic model, your mind feels it is only right to compare the payment of your rent and Ebube’s. Well, that is bad mathematics.
Comparison steals the ingredients from our little victories. We no longer have confidence in them. We feel they are not enough an achievement to keep us happy. You get sad. You get depressed. We are our own problem.
The moment we believe more in ourselves, our struggles, and celebrate even the smallest of victories, we would understand that happiness was always there waiting for us.
Focus illusion tells us that happiness is attached to the next ‘big’ achievement. It tells us that perhaps we are not happy because we are yet to buy that car. When we finally buy that car, it will tell us that happiness is not yet here because we have not gotten that Ph.D. This introduces another roller coaster of sadness and anger till we are able to get that Ph.D. Then happiness still eludes us because it is now with the next ‘big’ thing.
If you observe here, happiness has become the prank master, telling us about things we are yet to achieve, as a sure gateway to happiness. “Hey Happiness, this is no longer funny. Perhaps I should stop pursuing you in the next achievements. Maybe I should understand that you are not a prank master. Maybe I am the problem.”
Maybe I have not been able to recognize the happiness within; the sustainable one. Perhaps I should be able to harness you, oh dear Happiness, from the little achievements I have recorded. Poor me, I have been looking for you in the big things ahead, and you keep eluding me.
“I will be happy when I…,” shut up and appreciate your victories!!!