The secret to happiness? It’s progress. In life we are either growing, evolving and becoming more. Or we are stagnating, decaying away accumulating rust and becoming rusty – like an old car locked away in the garage. The more we progress, the more we become, and the more we become the more we can give.
Progress is a great measuring stick of what you are actually doing with your life and whether you are on course to achieving your goals or not. Most of the time it’s very easy to identify. In my case it’s the recent improvements I have made in my study of Mandarin. I have set myself the target of being proficient in Mandarin by the end of 2021. For you it could be losing a certain number of pounds of making a certain amount of money.
Before I continue, it’s very important to make sure your goals are ‘smart’ (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound), if you actually want to achieve them. Without your goals being ‘smart’, you will not be able to achieve them as they will be unrealistic, not bound to a time, unachievable, immeasurable and unspecific.
The more valuable you are, the more you can offer
Life is growth. We come into the world as vulnerable, incapable, extremely dependent little babies. Now imagine spending your whole life like that: vulnerable, incapable, highly dependent. Some people do. That’s not a life. Life is growth. To live the best possible life you can, you have to become everything you wished you would become growing up.
The beauty of this is that when you get to the other side you change. Not necessarily in your personality but more in your perspective of life, your confidence in yourself and your ability to rise to challenges. Now having become more you can offer more to others. You can be the person and do things for others that you wanted for yourself as a child.
It’s a transaction
Life is a transaction. To obtain something we have to give something. In order to obtain your dream physique you may have to give up the sweet foods you love. In order to obtain your dream job you may have to give up your time to work in a role you don’t enjoy, just to build up enough experience. You have to give something to get something back.
When you become more valuable you can offer more but you can also demand more. By giving people what they want you can get more of what you want. In my case, as of this moment, I would love for some of my family to visit me in China and see what life is like here. By giving my time and resources to ensure this happens, I would receive immense joy. It’s always a two-way process. However if I had never moved to China and chased my dream of working abroad this would never have been a possibility.
Add more to yourself. Become more valuable. Then share it with others.
Sense of Accomplishment
Why do we play video games, sports, take on challenging tasks, run marathons? It’s simple. We do it to overcome. We do it to master and to rule. I don’t believe that anybody truly is happy with losing a game, whether it’s a video game or a sports match. Those that say they don’t care are either lying or no longer have that inner fire to achieve.
We do things in life because we crave the end result. The end result is the sense of accomplishment, of having completed something. The sense of accomplishment and the feeling of winning is addictive and this brings us a lot of joy.
It’s all about progress. The more you progress the more fulfilled you will feel. Keep adding the fuel to your tank and never stop progressing.
Thanks for reading.
Johnny here: Having finished reading your piece of words, I found myself in your mind, which, admittedly, is compelling, by some brilliant metaphors, and it, as well, dawns on me that life ahead of us is a long way anyhow, therefore we must enjoy and heed the progress.
As for me, being confused over the future, I always think of the present life as the interim. As if I could flee the troublesome life in a second. Truth be told, I don’t please with my life. But just like what you said: ‘life is transaction’, no man can treat life badly and expect life will retire to a corner, awaiting you to abuse it. No! ‘Life is growth.’ You see life as a lovable pal and he would end up with the gift to you, ‘end result’, only you progressing step by step.
The truth is: I sat staring outside the window where the bustling traffic under the dazzling lights was quite amazing, as if in a trance. Yes, I’m not myself in those one or two years. But I find peace due to your article. Maybe you think I overstated. The thing is I’m a man of sentiment. So I think too much. Like the last time I lost myself in the book ‘Walden’ by Thoreau.
Anyway, your words of progress gives me confidence and courage to go on. Thanks!
Thank you so much Johnny! I’d love to talk with you about this more – let’s make it happen! 🙂