“What are you waiting for? You’re faster than this. Don’t think you are, know you are. Come on, stop trying to hit me and hit me.”- Morpheus
Skip to 3:44 for the good part
I was having a discussion with someone the other day about a principle that after years of positive thinking, self improvement, and personal challenge that I have finally learned for myself:
Unless you can learn to be happy right now: happy with who and what you are, happy with everything you have, and happy with everything in your life then you will NEVER be happy.
I’ve been reading books for years that tell you to be happy now, live in the moment, and learn to appreciate what you have but even though I was reading the words…it never really stuck as a lesson that I could apply in my own life.
I lean towards being a perfectionist: I want EVERYTHING to be perfect first, and then everything will be ok…maybe you can relate?
Whether I am preparing to tackle a new project, starting a new venture, or just trying to get ready for my next BJJ tournament I have always wanted to be over prepared.
When I was competing frequently I was confident in my ability, but if I felt like one single thing wasn’t perfect then I wasn’t ready: it was a little chip in my confidence that killed my ability to win consistently and perform up to my full potential.
I think most people can relate to this in some way…
Have you ever wanted to do something but you felt that you needed more time to plan, you had to do something else first, or maybe just what you needed the stars to all fall into alignment before everything finally works out.
Now, committing to continual improvement and always seeking to become better is a great investment into your life, but always expecting perfection of yourself in everything you do is a great way to take the fun out of life, bury yourself in extra pressure, and ensure that you never “feel” ready to start anything new.
For a while now I have been telling myself that my happiness will come at some point in the future for me.
First I thought I would just be happy when I got a job with flexible hours so that I could train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu full time, then I became a nurse and I was unhappy that I had to work a job I didn’t like.
Then I thought I could defer my happiness, train really hard, and then eventually I could win a world championship- then everything would change and I could be happy…at least that’s I told myself.
I got closer to becoming a world champion, but nothing changed. I climbed the rankings, improved at my sport, and started experiencing success…and then I asked myself what would change when I became world champion… and that’s when it dawned on me that nothing would change at all.
I would still be the same selfish person, still so focused on my own goals that I neglected the people I cared most about; I would still be broke living paycheck to paycheck, and I would still be searching for some new accomplishment or achievement that would make me happy eventually.
So after the bubble of being a champion and being happy forever burst, then I was onto my next task: starting up a self improvement blog and starting to help people find happiness in their own lives.
I told myself things would be tough for a while, but that eventually clients would start rolling in… I could help others and provide for myself financially at the same time, and eventually once I write a few books, branch into executive coaching, get some recognition, and really start making some money THEN I could be happy.
So one day it dawned on me that my happiness is and always has been this point in the future…
Even though I write about happiness not being a point but a journey, even though I know that happiness is only experienced in the moment, and even though I know that I have tons of things to be grateful for.
I’ve been working very hard at one thing or another for 26 years now, and all along I’ve promised myself that if I work hard enough today, that eventually I will be happy tomorrow.
What a way to live right?
Sacrifice all of your happiness today and then one day you can be happy…
The truth is that I have been lying to myself. I was wrong, and I have led myself on this continually changing path for my entire life.
Now I see the truth: that until I can learn to be happy right now…until I can be totally content and pleased with who I am right NOW, what I have NOW, the people I have in my life NOW, and the financial situation I am experiencing NOW, I will NEVER be truly happy.
Do I still believe in making sacrifices for a better tomorrow? Yes
Do I believe in continuing to improve myself and try to become a better person? Yes
Do I believe that we should still make decisions based on potential long-term benefits? Yes
But now I realize that no amount of money will ever make me happy, no “journey” will ever make me happy, and no accomplishment or life will ever make me happy…not until I decide to be happy with what I have right now.
THIS MOMENT is the KEY to your HAPPINESS
If you can’t be totally happy right now…in this very moment…then you WILL NEVER be able to be happy.
It may seem like the promise of a better tomorrow is alluring enough to believe that you really can be happy tomorrow…but I promise you that even if your life is better tomorrow, you will still not be able to be happy until you can learn to be happy now.
Your life is a series of moments, stitched together second by second over years and years.
Happiness cannot be experienced in the past or the future, it can only be experienced in this current moment.
This moment, right now…this moment is the key to a happy future. If you can learn to be happy right now in this moment, then you can be happy in this moment and all the other moments that are still coming in your life.
But, if you can’t learn to find happiness now, then you won’t know how to find it when you do finally get that idolized dream life that you have been wishing for.
What made it all finally click for me?
Love him or hate him, UFC champion Conor Mcgregor is taking the world by storm. This “cocky” Irishman has burst onto the scene making crazy predictions about becoming champion- even going so far as to make predictions about fight outcomes (even knocking out many of his opponents in the round of his choosing).
His uncanny ability to predict the “future” and call exactly how his fight will go in advance has earned him the nickname “Mystic Mac”.
To some he might just be a loudmouthed, overconfident, fighter just waiting for reality to come knock him back down to humility…but maybe he really is something different.
Only time will tell, but many people are already calling him the Muhammad Ali of MMA.
He is now the world champion; he has predicted the exact round he would beat his last 3 opponents including 2 title fights; he has set a new record for UFC earnings, and he is predicting even bigger things in the future.
This video at the 3:10 mark is what sets Conor apart from the rest, and this little speech is actually the trigger that finally made me realize that my happiness can only be attained NOW.
3:10 is when it all made sense
“What do you want to be? I don’t WANT to be anything, I AM everything that I want to be. I am already there, I don’t WANT anything. People say I want this, I want to do this, I want to do that; but the vibe you are putting out is want- you are always going to want. I always have the idea that I HAVE. I don’t WANT anything, I HAVE everything.”
And as I heard that little speech it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Eckhart Tolle’s the power of now echoed in my brain.
All of the articles I have written about happiness not being a destination echoed on as well.
“I have everything that I need right now.”
I have my life and I have my mind, and those two things are everything that I need to be happy and experience happiness for as long as I have those two things…because all of the other awesome things that I have in my life: a roof over my head, an amazing girlfriend, a great family, books to read, a healthy body, and everything else…those things are all just icing on a cake that already tastes sweet.
That truth exists for each of us on this planet, even you.
No matter how bad things are now, no matter what you may be going through, and no matter how many things you may have that you COULD be unhappy about…all you need to be happy now is the realization that you have EVERYTHING that you need to be happy right now.
All you need is the choice to do so.
So I will continue on trying to better my life, my self, and the people around me.
I will still help others and believe that the future hold even greater things for me, but now I know that I have EVERYTHING that I need right now…
and you do too.