What is True Happiness

Photo Credit: Keystone Church

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” -Morpheus

This statement made from Morpheus to Neo in The Matrix speaks perfectly to what true happiness is, at least in my eyes. Several years back my mind was opened to what living life really meant. Until then, I was lead to beleive that working 40+ hours a week, saving for retirement, and spending my weekends with friends and family was normal and ideal for living the American dream. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this lifestyle. Millions of people would kill for this life and millions of people love that they are living it. However, for me, after being exposed to what life can be, my mindset has completely changed.

If you have seen the Matrix series, then you understand the “consequences” of Neo’s choice. By taking the red pill and diving head first into the matrix, Neo set aside his desk job for something completely unknown. Which for the majority of people means something scary. For Neo, the matrix ended up being exactly what he needed eventhough it was a hell of a lot of work. He was tested over and over, nearly killed several times, and even questioned his decision but when he really looked into it, he knew the struggle was worth it.

For me, minus the death thing, this is the same path I’ve been traveling for several years. Sure my life isn’t as entertaining as Neo’s, nor am I as good a fighter as him, but I do face many similar challenges and consistently ask myself, “is it worth it?” One of the biggest differences between us and Neo is we are consistently asked if we want the blue pill or the red pill.

On a daily basis I am faced with the temptation of TV, bad food, a night life and much more, just as you are. I can choose the blue pill and and give in to these temptations, which would seemingly provide immediate satisfaction, or I can abstain. Although that delectable triple layer, chocolate mousse dessert sounds, looks and tastes good, it comes with quite of bit of backlash both physically and mentally. The same could be said about watching TV, spending money frivolously, or using drugs. All of these provide that immediate gratification but all create that feeling of guilt and shame afterwards when I realize what I just wasted my time and money on. However, as you know, life is a long distance race not a sprint.

The other option is the red pill which is one of discipline. This requires laser focus on those long term goals. This means denying my body of the endorphins provided by purchasing a Boosted Board (which is completely unecessary but extremely awesome) so I can save for a down-the-road objective. This means moving on from old habits and creating new ones to help reach what is desired in the long term. Lastly, and by far the most difficult, this also means moving on from those things and people that don’t allow for personal growth and development. This could be a bottle of booze or an old best friend. In either case, there is typically a very strong bond that must be broken before the red pill can take full effect. It’s tough but it is a must. If these few tasks can be replicated on a regular basis without having to struggle to make myself do them. Then I have found true happiness. One with long standing effect. Happiness that isn’t momentary and only had life while in the act. This is the happiness that comes after staving off the need for “now” and working for the future.

As it is, I am still muddling in the middle. Roughly 90% of the time, I am hyped up on the red pill. I am denying myself TV for a personal project. Both of which I love. I am eating well rather than reaching for a Snickers bar. One of those two choices brings immediate satisfaction while the other is creates discipline, a sense of self worth and true happiness. On other days I find myself waking up and taking the blue pill. I know what I need to do but rather than doing it full force, I mix in too much laziness and slow down my progress. I get relaxed and take my eyes off of what really matters. The worst part is, when I go to bed I know what I did to myself.

Overall, this is still a work in progress but I have most certainly found a greater sense of satisfaction when abstaining from the easy and quick forms of happiness. I wake up smiling, I have a sense of purpose throughout the day and I feel like I can make a difference in the world. One quote that has helped me through those lazy days and helped me stay the course comes from George Horace Lorimer. He said, “You have to wake up with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”

If you, like me, have a hard time consistently fighting off those tempations, I challenge you to take one small step at a time. Starting today, cut out one small thing that you know isn’t helping you reach your ultimate goal. Keep this out of your daily habit for a week. From there, pick the next smallest habit that sets you back and eliminate that as well. See how this snowballs for you and creates a feeling of success and purpose on a daily basis. Let’s start small and work our way up and before you know it, both of us will make a different in the world every single day. And that is true happiness!