Day 203: Smart does not equal happy

I shared an article the other day on LinkedIn that a Belmont professor friend of mine had shared. There was a lot to like about the article, but I especially liked the pieces that reinforced what I’ve been talking about over the past 203 days, about getting over your perfection and finding the things you’re passionate about. The author, Joe Pinsker, reinforced for me that I’m on the right path.

His article is called Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy, with the tagline: It’s a paradox: Shouldn’t the most accomplished be well equipped to make choices that maximize life satisfaction?
If you want to read the whole thing, you can find it here:

Otherwise, I’ll just give you a few of my favorite ideas.

…become a little more aware of what it is that you’re really good at, and what you enjoy doing. 

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about Strengthsfinder before, but if not, that book was my introduction to the world of Marcus Buckingham and finding those things that you love and loathe. Buckingham will tell you when you can do more of what you love everyday, and less of what you loathe, then your are on the path to finding your passion.

Ultimately, what we need in order to be happy is at some level pretty simple. It requires doing something that you find meaningful, that you can kind of get lost in on a daily basis.

I love the idea of getting lost on a daily basis. When you love what you’re doing so much that you get lost in it, then you’ve found your sweet spot. It’s cliche, but find what you love and get paid for it. If you can do that, then work almost never feels like work. I absolutely love my work; I just don’t love the commute in Nashville traffic, so maybe I should modify the homework to say focus on finding what you love, getting paid for it, and making sure it’s in the right location.

…not tethering your happiness to the achievement of outcomes.

The last point I want to bring up is a bit more abstract. I liked Pinsker’s ideas on this because he was talking about how we set a goal to climb a mountain, but when we get to the top of the mountain, we can see the next mountain we have to climb. If we tie our happiness to the outcome, we are truly never finished; thus, never truly happy. For example, you might say, I’ll be happy when I graduate, or when I get a job, or get married, or have a baby. or…or…or… If we’re tying our happiness to those moments in time (which can be very happy, in and of themselves), pretty soon the happiness wears off and we’re looking for the next big thing.

It’s nice to find an article that gives you pause to think. And it’s even nicer when the ideas support what you’ve been writing about. Talk about validation!

DAY 203 HOMEWORK: If you’ve not done Strengthsfinder 2.0, then I suggest you try it. It will give you a place to start to find out what you’re good at. If you already know what you’re good at, what your passion is, then get lost in it as you put it to good use.


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