Whether you realize it or not, you live your life pursuing one of these four goals: fun, happiness, status, or survival (you’ll find more information on the difference between fun and happiness in last week’s article). The good news is you get to choose how you live your life, which means you can change it when you don’t like how your current goal is working. These four goals are defined as the following:
Fun: Pursuing fun includes sticking to pleasurable activities and thrill seeking. Pleasure experiences are everything from regularly buying fancy coffees and avoiding work. The danger of this is it can lead to laziness and spending a lot of money on temporary things. Meanwhile, thrill seeking is about adventurous activities and the risk is personal injury, addictions and a life of some big ups and some big downs because for every thrill there’s the recovery time afterwards.
Happiness: Pursuing happiness leads to a life of finding pleasure in simple things and being grateful for what you have. It’s about discipline and sacrifice for the greater good. It’s also about enjoying the little things, which means instead of needing to skydive or party you will be happy connecting with people in serving, being served (we need to both give and receive) and conversation.
Status: Pursuing status is a life that includes a lot of hard work, shallowness, feelings of inadequacy, jealousy and judgement, but with the hope of impressing others. It’s all about being good enough, which pushes you to great achievements, but ultimately leaves you broken and often lonely. Most celebrities and management fit into this category.
Survival: Survival is simply getting by. This life is miserable because it sees life as miserable. It often includes obvious addictions like drinking, drugs, shopping, gambling and sex. It may have started as the pursuit of fun, but now the money and/or thrill is gone. It can also start as status seeking, but because of disappointment you’re now just trying to get through the day because hope is pretty much gone. There is no thriving, just surviving.
In rare cases – very rare cases – people will have the right goal of happiness without even intending on it. This would be people who are naturally drawn to positive thinking and happy lifestyles. If you’re like me, however, you will have to work at having the happiness goal because I’m drawn to negative and fear thinking, which is further perpetuated by our capitalistic society. Fortunately, the good news is we can purposely make our goal what we want when we daily strive to live the right way. In my teen years, without thinking about, my goal was mostly status, but it would flip to survival when I was overly stressed. Fun was definitely not my goal and happiness wasn’t even a thought. I would spend Friday and Saturday nights working and the other nights I would be up late doing homework – I was cool – and any free time was spent trying to be a comedian… that clearly didn’t work out so well for me. A major reason I worked so hard was because I wanted to be successful financially, which was ultimately about impressing women… the ultimate motivator for men.
Because I was such a workaholic, my life goal would also flip to simply surviving. After not living up to my expectations, I would be left fighting off feelings of failure and depression until I could find some inspiration to make me strive for status again… again, it was mostly for girls. To add to this drive for status is the fact that women are drawn to it. More than looks, women go for status, which is a major reason why Las Vegas is full of ugly dudes with hot wives. Men are suddenly much more attractive when they can afford to offer a woman what she really wants: an unlimited budget for shoe shopping… that’s a joke… kind of. Status is largely attractive to women because it reduces anxiety and allows her to use her creative mind to do all the things she wants whether traveling, shopping, buying gifts for people, holding parties and redecorating because she’s no longer limited by money. She can even get a job doing whatever she wants without fear of making enough money because she already has enough.
Now that I’m older and have found a great partner I realize the best pursuit is happiness. I enjoy life more; I have less anxiety; I don’t get as hurt by people. Plus, with whom would people rather be friends: the guy with big trophies or the one who makes you feel good about yourself? Having stuff impresses people for a moment while having a big heart impresses people for a lifetime.
This week may you start to live your life with the goal that you want.
Rev Chad David, EmotionalSex.ca, ChadDavid.ca