by Dr. Emily Shupert
We learned a lot in school but what syllabi neglected to cover was how to be truly happy in any season of life. We were taught to study hard, make good grades and be active in extra-curriculars but the topic of happiness was simply skipped by most, if not all curriculum. Achievement driven by an unquenchable search for more became the marker of success, not happiness driven from a place of contentment. Instead, we worked tirelessly, thinking that our good grades will get us into top colleges which open doors and help us gain a competitive edge in the job force. Achievement is a wonderful thing, please don’t get me wrong. But something that was likely never discussed in our lecture halls was the truth about achievements. While it can bring greater recognition, financial stability and more opportunities, it cannot bring about real happiness which comes from being content with where we are and what we have in this very moment.
As we grow up, we move from those large lecture halls to boardrooms, social circles, and LinkedIn profiles, looking at these environments to let us know if we are and have enough. And while the ages and stages of life changes, we continue to allow outside forces and factors shape our narrative. We allow our internal perspective and our satisfaction levels to be shaped by these external factors. When we do so, we are left with greater satisfaction once shininess of our achievements go away. We are left with an insatiable drive for MORE. More of what never has and never will satisfy us. The car depreciates, the spouse disappoints, the kids make mistakes and the new job responsibilities are not what you thought it would be.
Until we accept one of life’s greatest paradoxical shifts: Contentment with enough leads to more. A paradox that turns the American Dream on its side as we refuse to believe that the ideal tomorrow with the bigger house, better education, faster car, and perfect lawn is better than the enough we have in today. But after working with some of the most successful business women in Atlanta, wealthiest families, and most accomplished students to struggling startups and families still struggling financially post recession , I’ve found found success doesn’t necessarily bring happiness but contentment with enough always does. We find contentment in where we are now and what we have today.
We can choose to engage in this class schools left out and change our happiness trajectory by finding contentment with what we have and where we are, now! As we learn from powerful case studies of marketplace leaders and mentors who have discovered that happiness is first and foremost an inside job, we are empowered to do the same in our own lives. Let’s be students of this simple yet challenging course and encourage others we lead to do the same. Let’s lean in, challenge old definitions of success, and help others to do the same. Class is in session.
Find out how happy you are, really. Take the test and buy the Happiness Map book to increase your score. If you don't increase your score after reading/using the suggested questions, we will give you 100% of your money back....we are that confident that this book and your application of its concepts will change your life!