I think I have written somewhere in one of my past articles that it is not about happiness at all. No. It is all about excitement. What I mean is that the ultimate goal in life is not happiness itself. Happiness is only an outcome. What we should be practically looking for is doing those things that make us most excited about life.
Excitement is not just an emotional response or a build up in body chemistry. It is not that short lived anticipation to something – like that brief but intense suspense before something is about to happen or be announced. The excitement I am talking about is about doing those things that ignite that flair in you and fire up your imagination. It is doing that something that doesn’t dull you or eventually put you in a stagnant pool of buts, maybes and tomorrow we’ll see.
Here are some indicators that you are doing or planning things that excite you:
* You feel energised while thinking about or doing that thing
* You do not get tired or bored easily even when pitfalls or challenges are met
* It gives you a sense of meaning to what you are doing and where you are in life
* It gives you a lot or reward and satisfaction even if that reward has nothing to do with money or merit
* You want to talk about it in those moments your are not actually doing it
Deviations & Distractions
Of course there will be stumbling blocks and setbacks even when doing things that excite you the most, yet they will eventually draw us back to doing them unless we do not keep on resisting the call forever. Think of a writer’s block for instance. It might keep the writer away from what excites him the most, or give him a lot of frustration, but will eventually return to his writing pad even after going through all sorts of deviations in the meantime – some of them possibly being abusive or self-destructive in extreme cases.
I think now that I mentioned distractions and deviations, one has to be aware of these as being potentially the biggest obstacle to a life of excitement and fulfilment. They come in all forms and sizes and can be rather sneaky. It is incredible how some things can distract us – at least for some time – even from things that give us excitement. Truth is, every man made thing around you and most social situations are there to deviate you or distract you from breaking free and doing what is authentically exciting for you. Sounds like an over generalisation but it is fundamentally true.
So what I am saying is that baking might be something that gives you a lot of excitement and following that passion to eventually open up your bakery or host a T.V show about food and baking would be something that is aligned with your purpose and highest fulfilment. That’s cool. But there will be distractions and deviations. This is part of the challenge. For example, you might feel the pressure of having to take the bold and risky step of leaving your full time job and hence end up deviating from your goals because of this fearful mindset that your income is somehow concrete while your dream is, well, just a dream. It is very easy to fall for these mind traps.
You might also be sidetracked by a barrage of distractions along the way like pretty things that want your attention or following short-lived and inauthentic goals (because others are doing it or it looks cool). It is easy to lose sight of your goals whether for a very brief moment or for an extended period of time. This is all fine and part of what it is to be human, especially in this day and age of fanciful distractions. What is important is to keep on looking for what excites you the most. That has to be a constant question, a continuous search of your bearings.
Keep On Asking
In moments of doubt or when you feel lost, keep on asking “what excites me the most?”, “is this job or project exciting me?”, “Does this thought about doing this excite me?”. And if the question is a strong yes, then it is clear what to follow. Yes you will get doubts and fears, especially those handed down by others, such as ‘I cannot possibly achieve this, it’s too wild and out-of-the-ordinary’ or ‘ I have to be realistic about my finances and all my commitments…I cannot possibly make such a blind leap of faith.’ What you have to find confidence and conviction in is that following those things that excite you the most can never be a wrong thing or one that will lead you astray. Screw momentary setbacks and neigh sayers. Those will come and go. But being guided by your heart is a sure way of never going astray even though it might look like it for a while. By following your heart’s calling and doing what excites you the most, you will always get to your destination somehow and that’s a guarantee.