I have always been driven and striving and aspiring person, and for a long time I conflated my feelings of happiness with achieving some milestones and goals. Many people told me over and over again that coming from a modest background and then being an immigrant combined with being ambitious, status-conscious, and vanity-fair-inclined “made me who I am”. Practically like Hamilton from the musical:
Got a lot farther by working a lot harder
By being a lot smarter by being a self-starter…
I felt like in order to be successful, I had to make sacrifices, because this is how this world works. Last year, after a series of very strange events, I realized one important thing (ha-ha) – that happiness and accomplishments are entirely unrelated. Ever since, I have been feeling happy, simply because I am working with people I like, I enjoy my daily tasks and I have a lot of freedom not to do what I don’t want to do.
Lately, I caught myself thinking: “aren’t you getting lazy… why are you so relaxed… isn’t it immoral to be just happy for so long… you are becoming a vegetable… (and then surprise-surprise) => get on some new project”.
It’s not like I have nothing to do or work less, it’s more this strange fear of missing out unless I urgently get uncomfortable, begin to stress-out, and get frustrated after talking and having to deal with some jerks or idiots.
I wish somebody told me this, like, 25 years ago. Actions and achievements won’t make you happy, because happiness comes from within. Being happy does not mean that you are a lazy vegetable. Actually, I found that setting professional goals and making plans from the place of being happy will eliminate a lot of unnecessary friction and get me to my goals much faster with maximum amount of lucky coincidences.
It’s really funny. Just for a short while I was thinking that, perhaps, I should do a little more, try something new, get out of the comfort zone to experience the atmosphere of growing and learning, all the while enjoying myself and looking fabulous, and within a matter of a few days I got amazing news from several directions and a very-very intriguing Skype invitation to speak with one of the most talked about companies these days.
Unlike 5 years ago, I am not forcing it, I am not preparing for 10 different eventualities that may never develop, I am just going to speak at the Fintech forum in Frankfurt, have lunch in Dusseldorf with my longest and dearest friends, visit my long-trusted dermatologist and most amazing hairdresser ever (who both work with A-list celebrities, by the way), do my job in between, take that mysterious call, and trust the process. And I am not even talking about the fact that I’m going to Mauritius, Singapore and Hawaii all in the next 6 months 😉 Who said compliance wasn’t glamorous?