Happily Achieve vs. Achieving Happiness

A few weeks ago, I attended my first ever, live Tony Robbins event. He headlined alongside top business leaders & speakers including Gary Vaynercuk and even "Mr. Worldwide" aka Pitbull. Aside from all the cheering, jumping, neighbor hugging, and "I'm ready to rule the world" emotions, I believe I captured one major lesson from that full-day conference. Most of today's self-help, inspirational resources repeat the same lessons regarding how to live a fulfilling life. However one of the key points I want to spotlight and focus on is the problem behind the classic phrase "Achieving Happiness". 

We are all guided from the very beginning of our time to study hard, work hard, network hard, etc. to reach this final destination that has been termed "Achievement of Happiness". I remember countless hours in high school staying up late, terrified that my SAT and AP Physics scores will be the make it or break it for my long-term success. Then in college, we all remember the stress of finals week. Students today at top universities continue to literally kill themselves because of this overload of stress. There's even an article out there from the Boston Globe that suicide rates at MIT are higher than the national average. Just think about it. These are some of the most privileged and talented students IN THE WORLD. However, they end up taking their own life because they fear failure. They fear the thought of not being able to pay back their student loans or disappointing their families. Now this is the problem throughout our millennial generation. Every one of us, including myself, believes success and translatable "happiness" should just happen overnight. This is where Tony Robbin's lesson of Happily Achieving vs. Achieving Happiness struck a major chord. 

As I am about 6 months into "self-employment", completely dependent on my partner and I to generate the income needed to live, there are many occasions where I keep wondering when "my time will come". As we are a brand new startup, money is tight. I live at home with mom and I do my best to save as many leftovers for meals as possible. I get upset that I cannot go to the number of fancy parties and restaurants as my finance & lawyer friends. I stress myself out hoping the future will come sooner where I can move to a badass Midtown Atlanta condo and can exchange my 4Runner for an Audi R8. Funny enough, it took a Tony Robbins event to highlight such a simple, cliche lesson, that I need to work on "happily achieving", rather than believing "all my hard work will pay off". The lesson here is to enjoy the journey. 

No matter if you are an accountant dreading every single day to get those CPA hours, or a med school student studying your ass off to gain doctor status, the key is to embrace the journey. Happiness is completely internal and it is up to all of us to decide to enjoy this journey no matter what the end goal really is for you. Why live your entire life hoping, wishing, and waiting for the next best thing? Remember how stoked you were to even receive that first paycheck or get the acceptance letter from medical school. Now your pissed because you think your work life sucks and watch Wolf of Wall Street wishing you were already at the top. The goal here that I am personally working to implement is to be grateful and enjoy the ride. Relax, things will happen as they should. Decide what excites you, take action, and do your best to happily achieve rather than always seeking to arrive at this imaginary Land of Happiness. 


Author: Brett Gelfand