Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: How do I know that I am on the right path. Follow me on Quora.
We think we want happiness, we’re told we should want happiness, we’re surrounded by images of happiness and so we chase it. We see happy people and imagine the lives they live and what brings them there: money, success, love, attractiveness, etc. We imagine these people spring out of bed in the morning, don’t know the meaning of “the Mondays,” have never been tempted by the snooze bar on their alarm, smile their way through meetings, and skip to work every day.
But we don’t actually want happiness. Happiness is the result of conditions in your life, sometimes it lasts for a moment or a concert or a night out or a vacation. Sometimes more. But ultimately we’re faced with the reality that life isn’t happiness. And life shouldn’t be just happiness because life is so much more.
But wanting happiness is part of the illusion that steers so many people in the wrong direction. We think we want money but what we actually want is the security and freedom that comes with having enough money. We think we want to be attractive but what we really want is to feel valued and loved. We think we want success but what we really want is to contribute to something in a meaningful way and be recognized for that contribution.
What we really want is fulfillment.
And the rub of life is that fulfillment is so much harder to find than happiness, but it sticks in a way that happiness can’t.
When you’re on the right path in life, you’ll have that feeling of fulfillment. And you’ll know fulfillment when you feel it. Chase that and not happiness.