When do I think I’m happy? When society has watched me ‘arrive’ in life. When society thinks that I’m successful.
How does society define this success of mine? Once I get a promotion at work, buy a house, have paid off my loans, take a vacation in Hawaii, maybe sell a million dollar start-up to some VC etc.
Jay Shetty in his book Think Like a Monk, drives home a very important point. He quotes a sociologist named Charles Horton Cooley from 1902 thus. “I am not what I think I am, and I am not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am.” I had to read this a couple of times to let it sink in.
What he’s saying is what we all know. But it’s still so powerful. Society is not defining my success. It is me who is giving society a moving goalpost to evaluate me. Society couldn’t care less if I got one promotion or three. But my folly lies in thinking that society cares.
As my Guru asks often, “Do you even remember what shirt your friend wore a few days ago? What they ate 5 days ago? What they said 15 days ago?” No one remembers anything, except when it is relevant to themselves. No one is thinking about us, let alone about the metrics for our success. Let us live by our own scorecards. This will elevate our happiness and bring down stress and anxiety.