Contrary to popular belief, progress doesn’t equal happiness…
I want you to write this down; meaningful progress equals happiness…
I recently searched Google Trends for the word happiness which came up with a good number of hits, and then I compared that to searches for depression which came up with five times as many hits…
Right now the world is in a sad state of array and I’m sure there are a multitude of reasons but I feel that the predominant reason is that people are not doing what they love for work, and this is because people need to make ends meet which squeezes them into the schooling system and workforce which essentially turns them into cogs within a system and nobody is able to express their unique characters…
Tell me in the comments if you think I’m wrong but people have essentially been turned into robots and worker bees that simply follow orders instead of doing what really lights them up…
Remember, progress doesn’t equal happiness, meaningful progress equals happiness…
This means that you can’t just be climbing and making progress, you must be climbing and making progress up a mountain that you would love to be climbing because it brings you deeper meaning…
It doesn’t matter if you are making money if you are missing meaning…
It doesn’t matter if you are happily married if you are missing meaning…
It doesn’t matter if you look like a supermodel if you are missing meaning…
If we want to be happy we must first find meaning, and then make progress along the journey of that which brings us meaning…
Said more professionally, we need to know our values which give us meaning and inspiration, and then we need to make measurable progress in the direction of what matters most to us...
So these are the two things we are going to talk about today.
So first let’s talk about values…
Values are the things that you want in order to be happy. They are preferences that come in a hierarchy from most important to you to least important…
The things higher up the list will provide more intrinsic drive (inspiration) and the things lower down the list will bring more extrinsic drive (motivation)...
Naturally if you follow your highest values and of course make progress you’re going to live your most inspiring and fulfilling life…
The reason people don’t follow this path though is because of two core reasons…
Either they genuinely don’t know what they value, or they sacrifice their values to meet their deeper and lower level needs…
For example, you might really love and highly value reading but because the bills are due each week instead of reading you have to go to work to earn a living which is you sacrificing your higher values for reading to meet a lower level need of financial safety and security…
Of course if you have to work instead of doing what you love, which in this example is reading, you're going to be less happy in life than if you were to spend your days reading about the things you love…
So first you must know what your highest values are and then you must make measurable progress towards attaining or living those values…
Before we move onto making measurable progress I want to say that from my experience people lack happiness because they are conflicted about their values and trying to live by someone else’s ideologies and ideals…
They are doing what they think they should be doing instead of what they would really love to be doing…
This is why knowing your values is the first step on your journey towards self actualisation…
Now let’s talk about making measurable progress…
Everything in life is either growing or it is dying. If you think you are stagnant or standing still just remember that you are still dying and moving towards death.
The only way to give yourself spiritual and emotional CPR is to start making progress towards what you value most…
Being happy with what you’ve got is not enough, the soul wants to grow and expand!
How do you know if you are growing? By measuring physical and tangible progress.
You can not measure happiness, you can not measure how loving you are, you can only measure physical things in the physical world.
Life expands, death contracts.
Without having feedback from the physical world that you are progressing you will become depressed because there is no reference point for expansion and growth.
What dictates measurable progress?
Measurable progress means that it is binary and black and white, either it happened or it didn’t. It essentially means that you achieved a goal in the physical world that can be measured using numbers.
For example you can measure how heavy you are, how wide your waist is, how much money is in your bank account, how much profit your business makes, how many followers you have on social media, how many views your content gets, how many kilometers you can drive on a tank of petrol, how many books you have read, you can measure whether you and your partner went on a date night or on a holiday, you can measure the amount of caffeine you drink each week.
All of these things are measurable.
You can’t measure emotional states because you can be happy, happier or really happy, or really really happy and all of those states seamlessly merge into one another, there is no measurable, binary or black or white way of saying that I am officially happy.
Happiness isn’t sustainable, it comes and goes.
So measurable really means to set goals that are relevant in the physical world.
Once we have our values made clear and we have created real world tangible and measurable goals we can then start working towards them.
And although it won’t just happen effortlessly, you’ll still experience your fears and challenges, because you are doing something meaningful you will gladly accept any challenges as part of the journey instead of an obstacle with very little motivation to overcome.
This is where people can get stuck, because they think that their best life will only involve positive or happy feelings when in reality experiencing pain and hardship is a normal part of living a fulfilling and happy life.
When they face hardship they turn back to what is easy and never truly grow or expand, they simply live in their comfort zone which is void of deep meaning.
In life we need growth to be happy, but to grow we must face challenges, and to face challenges we must face some kind of discomfort or pain…
If we have too little challenge we become bored and seek short term gratification and instant pleasure.
If we have too much challenge and we become stressed and seek short term gratification and instant pleasure in the form of relief.
We need the right amount of challenge to stimulate us to grow.
When we face challenges on the journey towards our highest values and purpose we attack them from a more creative and innovative frame of mind.
When we face challenges that have very little meaning to us then we force our way through in a more disempowered, emotional or over analytical frame of mind.
At the end of the day the key will always be to discover your highest values and purpose, set measurable goals on the way to living and achieving your highest values, and then along that path face the challenges which cause you to grow and expand as a person.
This is the recipe for a happy life.
When I first meet someone that is stuck or unhappy I will often ask them if any of the following four things are relevant to them…
Uninspired - You don’t know your values or purpose
Unclear - You don’t have a clear plan or strategy with goals
Unable - You don’t have the skills, talents or resources
Unconfident - You have fear or doubts that are stopping you
When you are inspired, clear minded, able and confident you can attain absolutely anything you desire, but it really all starts with number one, knowing what your true highest values are.
Without knowing your true highest values you will consistently be pulled off course which will result in eventual unhappiness because you’ll always be climbing the wrong mountain.
I did this for many years as I tried to figure out who I was and what my purpose here on earth was.
I was completely lost and then tried to regain my direction but was led off course by listening to other people's opinions instead of listening to what was authentic for me.
It wasn’t until I became super clear on my values that I was able to say no to everything else and say yes to my true path and the mountain that was most meaningful for me to climb.
To get clear on your values you can go through my new and updated Discover Your Authentic Self course, it’s completely free and the starting place for anyone wanting to empower their life.
Once you know your values and your true purpose, you can then create goals that align with those values and your greater purpose.
What happens next feels like magic, but really it is just a byproduct of you tapping into your inspiration.
When you are clear on your values and goals you gain immense certainty and clarity. Confusion or lack of direction or meaning dissolves
Procrastination stops and you feel energised to complete the necessary work despite the challenges involved.
You no longer distract yourself with meaningless things, you no longer waste time or money, everything just becomes zeroed in on you doing what you were born to do.
This of course leads to living an immensely fulfilling and enjoyable life.
Despite the world being where it is today, everyone has an opportunity to find and pursue something that is meaningful to them.
Sometimes we feel like the outside world is stopping us from that, which in some cases is true, but with that said, every step you take can be seen as a step closer to what you do want.
My first job was dressing up as a chipmunk in a big children's playground, after that I worked at McDonalds. All of those steps were still valid steps in moving me to where I am now, and even now I’m still seeking attainment of even greater things.
The journey never ends, but remember that it is meaningful progress that leads to happiness
That means knowing your values which brings you meaning and then measuring your progress by taking physical action towards tangible goals.
Along the way you’ll deal with challenges, but because the goals are meaningful to you, you will have a more innovative and creative mindset leading to a far higher chance of achieving success.
To be happy the first and most important thing is to get clear on your values, that then sets the foundation for you to be able to make meaningful progress in life!
Become More, Live More, Give More.
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