“What is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness.”
I’ve never seen Mad Men, save for the pilot episode, nor do I care to. It’s just not my cup of oat milk latte.
But I was recently listening to the audio version of What if This Were Enough? by Heather Havrilesky when she cited this quote. I couldn’t help but feel a tiny epiphany moment like, “Wow… I feel understood.”
You know, the reason that most of us read any type of motivational or memoir books, we want all of our weird feelings and thoughts to be understood.
I’ve always felt uneasy with happiness. To be honest, I almost feel manic with it comes to my emotions. I will get so high off of accomplishments and triumphs that I have a sort of enthusiasm hangover shortly after.
And, being someone that deals with depression, slightly worry that I will slip back into those feelings at any given falter.
But when I heard the notion that happiness is the moment before we want more happiness, it made me think. Happiness really is fleeting, it’s not meant to be a perpetual state.
Yet people chase it like goddamn lemon after a tequila shot. We crave happiness; we want it, we need more of it.
But as per the Don Draper narrative, which I picked up through my audiobook, people always want more, people are most often never satisfied. We quickly celebrate a win and move on to bigger and better.
Leaving us never truly satisfied and possibly, never truly happy.
So I challenge you: let’s change our perception of happiness.
Let’s shift the focus from these fleeting wins to everyday moments. Let’s stop relying on momentous occasions to bring us joy.
Let’s cultivate happiness every day instead of living from triumph to triumph.
Appreciate the Little Moments
I had the founder of the lingerie company Lively, Michelle Grant, on my podcast recently. She talked about starting her company, what it’s like to break into a new vertical of a long-standing industry, and how she handles the ebbs and flows of life.
At the end of each episode, I ask the question, “What do you hustle for?”
Michelle answered with a beautiful response. She hustles for the little moments in life that bring her joy. From playing with her daughter to sipping on a cup of coffee, down to enjoying a conversation with her husband.
Along the road of Lively’s success, Michelle wants to be sure that she doesn’t miss out on life. Because as much as she loves her company, she finds happiness in the little moments of her everyday life.
She separates the enthusiasm of landing a significant partnership from the happiness she feels watching her daughter smile.
And I believe that’s how we all should live: enjoying the little moments.
The chirping of a bird in the morning while you settle down into a comfy chair, a morning kiss from someone you love, eating a meal your tastebuds relish; these are the moments that make life worth living every day. Yet all too often, we let them pass us by.
Marvel in the Beauty Around You
I learned this idea when I started to dive into mindfulness. I read a book by Jan Chozen Bays called How to Train a Wild Elephant. The book dives into the various everyday ways to implement mindfulness.
One of them is to use all of your senses to take in what’s going on around us.
How often do we overlook the way the sun reflects off a glistening lake? Have you ever considered the shade of blue the sky is? How about how it changes in darkness depending on how close you look at the horizon?
The noise of wind rustling through the leaves of a tree. The way a bird glides effortlessly through the air.
The world is a magical place if you really stop and give it a chance. We’re surrounded by beautiful sights and acts of scientific exemplary.
Instead of simply driving to work, possibly texting and listening to a podcast all at once, trying driving in complete silence.
Allow yourself to feel the sensation of really taking in the colors and sights around you. The world isn’t as mundane as society makes it out to be. Joy can be found simply in considering the color of the sky.
Indulge in Your Relationships
Human connection is crucial for humans to thrive.
But it’s really a catch 22; we take for granted the relationships we do have to seek out bonds with people we either don’t know or have no interested in connection with us.
So why not turn that around? Be grateful for the people you already have in your life. Dive deep into the relationship you have with your wife, son, etc.
Spend your energy indulging in your relationships and making them stronger.
The outcome will be beneficial for both of you and could unlock a sense of happiness you didn’t know existed.
Invest in Your Interests
Not just your money but your time too. We live in a hustle culture where we feel like we need to be spending time on things that will only benefit our careers. Or, lay on the couch and binge Netflix while sharing memes about said show we’re indulging in.
There seems to be no in-between.
But what happened to doing things solely for the sake of pure enjoyment?
It’s mentally healthy for us to disconnect from work, exercise, and any other stressors to enjoy an activity we love. Usually, it uses a different part of our brain. So while keeping us from wanting to feel dissatisfied with life, doing activities we love also keeps our physical health in excellent shape too.
Whether you love to paint model cars, reading sappy romantic novels or knitting sweaters from your cat’s hair (yes, that’s a thing), invest time into what lights your heart on fire.
You’re going to find yourself in a better mood throughout the day, as a residual effect and something to look forward to.
Don’t succumb to the dissatisfied life like that of Don Draper — which ended up being his character’s biggest flaw.
Let’s stop living for the moments the next moment that makes us feel exhilarated; feel alive every day.