The Dalai Lama once said, “The point of life is happiness.”
He’s a nice guy. I’m sure he means well. But here, with this quote… he’s dead wrong. 100% WRONG.
I will say that he has generations of people from all cultures, both current and past who would totally agree with him. The United States Declaration even says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Don’t get me wrong. I like being happy. I want to do what I can to make the lives of the people I impact as happy as I can. Happy can be a very good thing. It is simply not the most important thing. People for eons have been duped into believing that “happiness” is the ultimate goal in our existence. The challenge to that path is that so many finally achieve all of those things they believed would make them “happy”, only to find that they are still empty, searching and confused.
Some look for happiness in their relationships… and yet even though they are loved and appreciated by their family, and respected by their colleagues, friends and neighbors, they find at times there is still an internal ache, a confusion of the soul about the state of their happiness.
Others believe if they can only land that special promotion, cross a special salary level or accomplish that ultimate career goal for their life they will achieve nirvana, that internal state of bliss and happiness they have been chasing their entire life. When they finally grab their ultimate prize, they find happiness is still on the horizon.
Some will spend their entire life in a passionate, almost desperate hunt for happiness. Jordan Peterson challenges that view on life. He states emphatically, “Life isn’t supposed to be happy or fair. Life is supposed to be meaningful.” HOLY SMOKES! Read that again… “Life isn’t supposed to be happy or fair. Life is supposed to be meaningful!” If you and I want to succeed in life, it has nothing to do with the cotton candy pursuit of something we think is “happiness”, and everything to do with spending each moment of our life pursuing meaning, and meaningful tasks, causes and experiences!
This challenge is so much more important for you as a leader! It is critical that as you lead yourself, your family, your work and your community that you are committed to doing so in a meaningful way. Leaders talk a lot about “vision”. What is vision but meaning with skin on it? For leaders to lead well, they must possess meaning and purpose in their own lives, and transfer that into their families, groups, work and world.
ASK YOURSELF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
- If you knew this was your final year live, what would be the top three things you would spend time doing?
- What did you love doing as a child?
- If you had to pick only one cause to donate to, what would it be?
- What are you willing to fight for?
- What would spend time, money and energy on even if you weren’t paid to do it?
- If you were going to make the world a better place, what would be the first thing you would do?
- What makes you so passionate you will skip sleep and meals to pursue it?
When you finish answering those questions, it will become painfully obvious what it is in your life that has meaning. When you find it, chase it relentlessly. When you find it, give it priority. When you find it, just do it.
At the end of that journey, and at many points on the journey, THAT is where you will find real happiness!