Imagine for a moment that you are in total, blissful happiness. What are you picturing? Isi t coming back from your dream job to a warm home and happy family? Is it watching your children graduate or holding your grandchildren? Is it having enough money to travel when you retire? Regardless of what you are picturing, it may not be your true key to happiness. In fact, one could argue that finding true happiness is not about achieving your goals, but about learning to be happy with what you have in the present moment.
It is great to have goals in life, but are your goals holding you back from true happiness? It is not the goals, but what happens after you achieve them. You may take time to be happy and celebrate, but over the following days or the following weeks, you push yourself harder to achieve success. You create new goals to achieve, and then you chase them. The problem is not the goals themselves, therefore, but the chase of wanting to achieve more. When you constantly seek more, you cannot possibly be completely happy with what you have.
So, if meeting your goals and succeeding is not the ticket to happiness, what is? One could argue that the key is learning to live in the moment. Living in the moment is nothing more than being present in the experience that you are having. For example, imagine that you are having a great time spending time with your family at an amusement park. Things are going great and you get a phone call from your boss, asking you to check an e-mail and follow up on a business lead. You oblige. While you continue on the outing with your family, it is not the same as before because you are focused on another task. Even though you are physically present, your mind is somewhere else and you are not fully experiencing what is going on around you.
To learn to be more present in your life, you must overcome the need to multi-task and be available that many of us have. One way to do this is mindfulness. By being mindful, you experience life. When you chew food, do it slowly and taste it, rather than trying to rush just to fill your stomach. Instead of stressing about the day ahead of you when you commute to work, focus on the flowers that have bloomed nearby or how happy the dogs in the park look.
It is easy to become so driven in achieving your goals that you forget what the true happiness in life is—the experience. It is not success that is the golden ticket, but rather, learning to live life in the moment. It is fully enjoying your food and being with your loved ones, rather than multitasking because you feel you cannot take a break if you are to succeed. By overcoming this persistent need to be available and doing something, you will find yourself happier and more aware of your existence.