I recently read this quote from John Lennon, "When I was five years old my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I got to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment and I told them they didn't understand life." I bet this story makes you smile because it's just the kind of thing that a five year old would do. I hope it also makes you think. What do you want to be when you grow up? Are you on that path?
Much as the pursuit of happiness seems like a worthy destination, I would actually challenge it as a worthy mission in life. Here's why; I believe that happiness is a byproduct of your perception, your mindset. I believe that you create your own happiness and you create real happiness and joy by discovering the passion, the art, the creativity, the God-given gift within you and pursuing that. When we pursue happiness itself, we are pursuing something that is often elusive, that may change daily and that may not actually be in keeping with other important values. For instance, it may make me 'happy' to go on a shopping spree that I can ill afford. It may make me 'happy' to become involved in a relationship that violates prior commitments. Ultimately of course, both of these examples will result in unhappiness since in both these examples there are many other values and circumstances that need to be taken into consideration. When we search within for the mission or purpose in our lives then make that our north star, we are much more likely to not only reach our goal but to be happy in the process.
None of this is easy. I've spent much of my life setting goals but having a hazy idea of my mission or purpose in life. When we set goals that aren't grounded in our basic purpose and our beliefs or values, then we not only have difficulty staying focused on them and achieving them but we are often amazed at the destination when we arrive. Figuring our where we are going and getting on the right path are both important parts of the journey of life. A great book that I've recently read on this very subject is The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley. One of the questions that he asks and answers in the book is, "Why is it that smart people with admirable life goals often end up far from where they intended to be? Why do our expectations about our own future often go unmet?" There are a lot of explanations for this but the simplest and most basic is that while we establish our goals, we don't take the time to establish the mission for our lives and the path that will lead there.
In a couple of weeks, I will be part of a one day conference for women where we will address these questions; What is your passion? What is your mission? What is the path to follow to arrive at the destination? You can check out a video about the conference here: A Called Woman Conference
What about you? What do you want to be when you grow up?