Emerson says: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Happiness explained in one easy quotable sentence!
When I was in my teens and 20s, I used to believe the lie that had been perpetrated by society. That my sole purpose in life is to chase happiness. To run after it as if a demon from hell is going to murder me if I don’t.
I spent all of my time thinking, wondering, reflecting, dreaming about that special day when I would be happy.
Oh, what a great day that would be! It would be rainbows and butterflies, and everything would be oh-so-perfect. I would go tra-la-laing around the world because, at that point, I would have not a worry left in this physical realm.
Of course, I know how foolish I am. The more we chase after something, the more it eludes us. The more fervently we want something or desire something, the more it slips from our slimy grasp.
Do The Unique Work You Are Here To Do
The point of life is not to be happy. BUT, to do our work, that special work that we are here to do, that only we can do. And once, we do that work, voila, as if by magic, happiness miraculously takes its honorable place in our hearts, minds, and souls. We didn’t even have to run after it all of this time.
Don’t we feel all silly now?
The funny thing was that as long as I chased after happiness, I felt more and more miserable every single day. I thought the system was broken, that this world is crazy, that death is the only escape. Then I used to imagine that perhaps I was broken, that it’s impossible for me to feel happiness, that I shouldn’t even try, that maybe I’m crazy.
But all of that did nothing to boost my mood either. Don’t get me wrong – I had those few and far between moments of joy. Where everything seemed dandy for a few seconds, slipping again into the ether, faster than you could say, I’m happy.
They were few and far between.
And those moments didn’t last long enough for me to even enjoy them.
Now, I Have Forgotten About Happiness, I’m Just Focused On Work
My worldview has changed drastically. Now, instead of worrying about happiness, or even thinking about it at all, I just focus entirely on my work. The work that I believe I have been placed on this planet to do. Not just random, mundane, mindless work.
That would be you missing the point.
Not just any work will give us solace. Unless you are meant to be doing that work from the bottom of your ecstatic soul, then you won’t feel no satisfaction.
The point is to find that work – you know the work, I am speaking of. That particular unique work that only you are suited to. It might be crocheting hats for cats, or it might be cleaning up the toilets of hospitals. Or it could be writing novels, and teaching people through words and videos, which is my purpose in life right now.
The Work Automagically Makes Us Happy Every Day
Funnily enough, the minute you stop chasing happiness and buckle down and do your work, your heart starts singing with joy. You are just automatically happy every day. I wake up every day happy, even if I had shitty sleep or even if the dogs of the neighbourhood wouldn’t shut up until midnight.
I wake up and I bleat with joy, yay, I am alive, and guess what, I get to spend another day doing my work. The fact that I get to spend my day doing my work, and that too, every single day, makes me scream with delight.
It’s the kind of joy or happiness that cannot be explained. I can’t put a price or label on it, because it comes from deep within me. It’s not something that I can even feel at will. I have absolutely no control over it.
It comes from that deep wellspring source that gets its meaning and purpose from deep impactful soul work.
Nothing else can bring this kind of joy to the surface.
Give Up On The Myth Of Happiness And Just Do Your Damn Work
Ah, but if it was so easy, then everyone would be happy, right???
That’s the point, isn’t it? The point is that it isn’t easy to find what we are here to do. It took me decades to get to this point when I have an inkling of my work. I spent years and years trying to figure it out. And then one day it was there, and I was happy.
The point is that it isn’t going to be easy, but you have to at least get started on the journey. You can’t chase the myth of happiness forever, and pretend like you are doing a good job at life.
Stop chasing. Start figuring out your purpose. Even if it takes you your entire lifetime, that would be a better use of your time than spending it crying about being unhappy.