Have you ever reached a goal only to feel deflated, nothing at all or even a little blue? I watched this video posted by Think for Yourself the other day about celebrities speaking out on fame and materialism. Can you guess the theme? Yup — fame and wealth don’t make you happy. So what does?
The reason you may not feel elated after reaching a goal is because achieving without purpose doesn’t matter (and can even be harmful). To have purpose you have to know who you are and what you want. You need to know your identity.
But it’s hard, man. Everyone you know has at some point bought into the idea that once you get over there, you’ll be happy. And worse yet, they push it on you — I think to subconsciously — to keep achieving status, money, material things, you name it.
I was once told I should buy a car that reflected my status — I worked at a successful technology company and could afford it but I drove a 2002 Saturn VUE.
Here’s the thing though — It perfectly reflected who I am. I am practical, low maintenance, humble, the opposite of flashy or trendy. I don’t want people to look at me and see material wealth first. I want them to see me.
Even though I was firm in my reaction to this statement, I couldn’t help but spend an inordinate amount of time questioning how people view me and whether I was living up to the world’s expectations. Whether we like to admit it or not, what others think of us, especially those who are important people in our lives, influences how we feel and can make us question our identity.
I’ve learned three quick things to help bring you back to who you really are through the values you have:
- If I die tomorrow would I like how I lived today?
- Would I put the pressure I put on myself on my child or best friend?
- If someone said/did this to my mom, would I allow it?
These are pretty simplistic questions and surely need to be tweaked for the situation, but they can often allow your gut reaction to take over. Your gut is often the best indicator of telling you exactly who you are. We need to be loved and feel valued by people around us so we’ll never escape the inevitable social pressures to achieve, but if we can find a purpose to which we can align our goals we are that much closer to feeling alive every day.