A friend of mine, Henrik Nordstrom, whom I really admire recently shared a story of his. He is originally from Sweden, and when he was 11 or so, he was overweight. He was made fun of in school and his life was pretty miserable. His mother had these Tony Robbins cassette tapes that she had bought, and one summer as he was sitting there bored, he started listening to these tapes. All about NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP) and modelling. He was one of the slowest runners in school at the end of school year in the spring, and after going through these Personal Power II tapes and learning NLP and modelling a movie scene out f Jackie Chan movie (Police Story) where the character was running fast, he was able to improve his speed, without any actual training, but just through the power of his mind.
Brilliant, right? This is just the beginning. One of his favourite shows on TV was Miami Vice. He decided at the tender age of 10 to move there and start anew. He built a really successful business, had a Ferrari, a condo by the water, more money than he knew what to do with, and the whole shebang. He had made it at the age of 21.
The reason I love this man so much is because he asked the question that most people in his situation wouldn’t ask. That question was, “Now what?”
I Have It All And Now What I Am Supposed To Do
This friend of mine had it all. I mean, you name it, he had it. Beautiful cars, oodles of money, beautiful condo, lots of gadgets and more. But, you know how it is when you have it all, especially at such a young age.
It is discerning. You worked so hard for so long to reach all of these fantabulous goals. And through sheer hard work and teeth gritting, you get there! You have everything you’ve ever wanted.
What are you supposed to do now? If you are like most people, you’ve probably sacrificed everything in the process – health, relationships, spirituality, balance, and more. Most people at that point go back to taking care of themselves, and their relationships.
But why is that always the case?
I have been thinking about this for a while now and I have kind of culled it down to two reasons.
First Reason – Always Rushing To That Special Moment In The Future When You Have It All
When I was living in the Middle East, I used to watch a lot of American TV shows and I was in love with the typical American blue-eyed, blonde man. I wanted my boyfriend to look like them. I couldn’t wait to grow up, be 21, and ready and willing to be enticed away by a hotblooded American man. Like in those TV shows.
Oh man, now that I look back at it, I wish I had enjoyed my tween and teen years a bit more. I wish I hadn’t always been in the mode of wanting to be somewhere else. But in all honesty, I was always the grass is greener on the other side kind of gal.
I always wanted to be somewhere else.
If I was travelling, I wanted to be at home. If I was at home, I wanted to be travelling. If I was in a relationship, I wanted to be single, and vice versa. You get the picture. When I think about so many moments that I wasted thinking about that moment when I would have it all, I cringe.
Once, I would get to the goals that I set up for myself (no I didn’t get that hotblooded American man, thank God), I would feel empty on the inside. I worked so hard to get to this point and now what? What am I supposed to do now? I would always fill the emptiness with shopping, food, alcohol, and sex. And I would set up another bigger goal, so I would always have something bigger to move towards.
Never standing still. Never able to enjoy the moment. Never able to enjoy my victories.
Second Reason – Inability To Either Stay In The Moment Or Enjoy The Fantabulous Journey
When I was young, my parents would take us on this awesome road trips all across the Middle East. We visited Oman, Saudi, Kuwait, and so many more countries in that little cul-de-sac. I remember now thinking the whole time we were driving that I wanted to be at the end of the journey. I wanted to be there. Right now.
But of course, it took time to get to wherever we were going. In fact, some of the scenery that we passed by was absolutely phenomenal (I can picture it now in my head). And all I would be thinking the whole time was, “Are we there yet?”
This isn’t just my younger self, but I did the same in my twenties as well as my thirties.
Only just now have I really learned the value of stopping, and appreciating each moment, enjoying the journey. The honest truth is that there is no real endpoint. There is only the journey. Let me expand on this a bit more.
There Is No Outcome, Just A Long-Ass Never-Ending Journey
When my friend was working so hard to reach his goals, I think he was under the illusion that all goal-setters are under. That illusion is that once I reach my goals, everything in my life will fall into place and I will be perfect, loved, and happy.
That will not happen. In fact, if you were miserable before you got to your goal, you are going to be just as miserable. Maybe you might be a bit more miserable, because now you are at your goal, and you are still miserable.
The reality is that there is no endpoint. We are never going to reach the end of it all. I believe in reincarnation, and the eternal timelessness of our spirits/souls/essences. Thus, we are on a really long-ass journey.
It won’t matter to our spirit who has been alive for thousands of years, if we reach one miserable goal in one miserable life. Yeah, you are checking off stuff and thinking it’s a big deal, but to your soul, it’s like Meh.
Seriously though, the journey is real deal. The thousands of moments that make up the journey matter more, than these random little points that we place so much importance on.
They are random. Unreal. Not important. The sooner we realize that, the better off we would be.
Happiness Comes From Being Present In The Journey, Not The Achieving Of A Goal
Okay, this is a big concept, so pay attention. All of us (yes, even you) believe that we are going to be happy once we reach a particular goal. We are going to be so happy, and perfect, and laughing all the time for no apparent reason.
But that is not the case. And, we reach our goals, and we are unable to feel happy. That puts a kink in our entire live story. This means, that goals don’t mean anything, and we are all just wasting our time being on this planet??? Existential crisis abounds.
Woah, let’s step back a bit. If you were able to enjoy the journey as much as reaching the goal, that is when you will gain true happiness.
If we are not always running away from the present moment to get to that next moment when we think we will have it all. If we could just stay here right now, present and truly alive. If we could stop counting the moments until we get to some random misaligned goal.
If we could do all of that, that’s when the true miracle of happiness will hit us. Right where it counts.
Don’t Get Me Wrong – I Set Goals, But I Don’t Get Enamoured With Them
Okay, so I am a major goal setter myself. In the past, I would get upset if I didn’t reach my goal, journey be damned to hell.
But now I am looking at things a bit differently. I set goals, but I really don’t care much if I reach them. In fact, I don’t set my entire self-esteem, and happiness upon the reaching of a goal. That is sheer madness and absolute suicide for your happiness.
You can’t do that and expect to be happy.
The reality is either way, if you reach or don’t reach the goal, you learned something in the process, and the learning and growth is the real point of this whole human living exercise. Nothing else really matters. We think the goals matter, but really, when you are at your deathbed, will you care if you reached that 1 million dollars in sales goal?
Not even a smidgeon. So let’s put things into perspective, and let’s stop getting overexcited and over attached to certain goals that really don’t matter that much.
Detachment To Outcomes, But Absolute Devotion To The Path
This is how I want you to start thinking about goals from now on. Okay, you with me? We set goals, of course, because we are constantly wanting to get to that better and better version of ourselves.
But we don’t set goals with the intention of reaching them to fulfill our happiness. We know our happiness has nothing to do with achieving goals, but with the journey itself. And moreover, we are actually detached to achieving the goal, but we work crazy-like on the path.
For example, I work a lot on my business. I work everyday from 6am to 6pm. I love what I do, so it doesn’t feel like work. But it’s still work. I have certain goals for my business, and I am happy when I reach them, but if I don’t reach them, I don’t care. Why? Because man, oh man, I am learning so freaking much every single day from running my business. But that doesn’t mean, I am not devoted like hell to the journey – I definitely am.
You see the difference.
This way my happiness has been detached from a random outcome that doesn’t really matter anyways, and has been attached to the awesome journey.
No Attachment To Outcomes Leads To More Outcomes
The more I live in this world, the more I realize that the universe is a crazy kooky ironic sumbitch. I am not being offensive here. It seriously is. It also has the weirdest sense of humour. Everything is upside down in this world we live in. It is not black and white and it’s not grey. It’s convoluted and out there somewhere in the rainbow spectrum.
Why do I say this?
Well, because of all the irony that is present in life.
For example, the more you want to achieve, the less you need to care about achieving it. The less you do, the more you achieve. The less you care, the more you have. The more present you are in the moment, the more happiness you have in all moments.
Okay, so think about this – the less attached you are, the more you get. That is the absolute truth. I have noticed this so much in my own life. It doesn’t mean that I sit around like a lazy sumbitch waiting for things to come to me. Oh no, not I!
I work hard. But I work hard because I enjoy working on the things that I am working on. I am having fun with it. And the more fun I have with it, the more I enjoy it, the more I am able to achieve.
If You Are Thinking Now What, You Need To Come Back To The Present Moment
Every single time, we move away from the present moment, we are going to have thoughts of doubts, fears, and anxieties. All of these negative emotions exist only in the past and future thinking. There is no negative thinking in the present moment.
Go on, now. Try it.
Try staying in the present moment, truly in the present moment, and think a negative thought. It’s impossible.
When we start thinking only about our goals and about the future, that’s when we have those feelings of crises – of now what, of is this all there is, of what am I even doing here.
But if we are able to stay in the moment, in the present moment, in the mindful moment, then these thoughts can’t attack us. Let’s all try and come back to the journey. The journey always matters more than the endpoint, because again, there are no endpoints (we set them up arbitrarily), and there is no end.
We are all here forever and ever.
Let’s End With A Quote By Alan Watts To Achieve Happiness Right Now
Okay, then you are asking, “What’s the point of all of this? Why did the universe bring my consciousness here? Why so much drama to ensure that I exist? Why? What’s the point of it all?”
Here’s a quote from Alan Watts, a philosopher after my own heart. These words are guaranteed to soothe any temperamental and confused soul.
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
― Alan W. Watts,
You see. It’s too simple perhaps. But there it is. That’s all is the point of being here. To be alive. That’s all! We can overcomplicate it with goals, and melodrama, and existentialism. But the point remains. It’s to be truly alive.