To know how you want to live your life – you need to know what you want out of life. It’s a question I always ask people I interact with – What do you want?
Try asking yourself that. It’s a difficult question with no clear answer. We think we know what we want – a good job, a loving family, big house, lots of money, great sex, exciting life… But those are only manifestations, elements of life. There are hundreds of little life elements and they change over time. One thing matters when we are in our teens, another when we are in our 20s, something else at 40, and completely different at 65. However, they are not what we truly want. The person at 13, 28, 40, and 65 – they all want the same thing. Everyone, all over the world, at any age, gender, social status, and background want the exact same thing at any given time…
They want to feel good!
Good, not happy. I am not talking about happiness, as that is a state of being, not something you do, or take specific steps to achieve. I am talking about feeling good. Feeling good at the moment. Feeling good about oneself. Feeling good about your life. Feeling good!
Throughout history, the main driving force in the life of human beings has been the desire to feel good. We moved into caves from the jungles and forests, because hiding from the elements and predators made us feel good. We discovered fire because the warmth made us feel good. We created clothes because the comfort they provided made us feel good. We have created millions of recipes because tasty food made us feel good. We invented alcohol, sports, social interactions – because they made us feel good. We have sex – not for reproduction, but because it makes us feel good. We masturbate for no reason, other than it makes us feel good. All human functions, from the most basic, to the most complex ones, from the most benevolent, to the most sinister ones – we do them because they make us feel good.
And yet… We don’t understand that concept at all! All of the examples above, we equate with necessities of life. We explain it with “it’s what makes us human” and we don’t give it much thought. But that’s the whole truth, right there. The desire to feel good is what makes us human.
Now, imagine going through life and never realizing that. Experiencing life’s moments on autopilot. Things happen because they do. Going after the staples predetermined by society to make you happy – a job, a family, a house, a car, a vacation, a retirement plan… And never, not once, asking yourself – do these things make me feel good? Look around you… Within your own circle of family and friends – how many are depressed, addicted to alcohol or pharmaceuticals, miserable in their daily existence? How many times have you heard people say “so-and-so had a perfect life, I don’t know what happened”…? Did they have a perfect life? Or did they have a perfect checklist? Do you know what’s the scariest life moment of all? Fulfilling your checklist. That moment when all the elements that are supposed to make you feel happy are there… Except for the happiness itself. It’s a devastating moment of truth. The most tormenting question of all – why? Why am I not happy? Why this isn’t enough? Why is it still empty inside? Why did I waste all those years…?
Those are the wrong questions. Because the quest from the beginning was a wrong one. Don’t chase things that will make you happy. Nothing will. There isn’t a single thing in this world that will make you happy. I know millionaires that are unhappy, I know people with picture-perfect families that are unhappy, I know people with stellar careers that are unhappy. Happiness is a state of being. Happiness is not something you can achieve, reach, create. Happiness exists within you and you decide to acknowledge it, or not. Oftentimes external factors can blur our perception and make us feel unhappy – but happiness is simply the ability to see within ourselves with clarity and acceptance.
Feeling good on the other hand… That is something that we can pursue intentionally. Feeling good is where our energy, focus, and drive should be put. Once we filter life through that basic question – does this make me feel good – all decisions become clearer and more pointed. Does your job make you feel good? Does your house? Does your family? Does the money in the bank account? If not – why are you doing them? Why are you not changing things – so they can begin to make you feel good?
Selfish? Yes, very much so. But what is the point of living a life that makes you feel like shit? If everyone can ask themselves this basic question before making life choices and major decisions – life would be so much better for everyone. A person that feels good – radiates that feeling. They want others to feel good because they want other people’s good feelings to bounce back and contribute further to theirs.
Start replacing “am I doing the right thing” and “is this the right choice” with –
“Does this make me feel good?”