The 9th of September 2010 I became a published writer. Then three and a half months later I found out. A friend of mine had sent in a poem I’d written to the national newspaper, and they published it. But he forgot to tell me about it. Here it is:
Right now I should be revising, but I can’t put my mind to mathematics. I have a million of other thoughts in my head and things I’d rather do. Does that mean I won’t be successful?
I am a successful procrastinator, but I can’t really do that for a living. What I mean is, should I measure success in terms of where I end up – and how fast I get there? Or am I successful if I enjoy my way there – even if it then takes me five years extra? Maybe success is realising halfway through that this goal isn’t where I want to go after all, and thus change my path. Right now, I’d feel successful if I could gather all my friends for a barbecue.
Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappo.com, has written the book “Delivering Happiness – A Path To Profits, Passion and Purpose”. He claims that we are all taking different paths in pursuit of the same goal: happiness. I think he is onto something.
Now, why did I mention that poem?
It’s just an example of what people do. I reckon good writers write for two reasons; because they like it, and because they have a goal of getting published (i.e. get paid and buy a house or just make their name known). My poem got published and I didn’t even notice. Now I’m thinking so what? What if fulfilling the goals we set for ourselves doesn’t make a difference to us after all? What if they don’t deliver happiness? What if I really put my mind to studying now, and then when I get the results after the maths exam, it doesn’t really make a difference to me whether it says 50% or 70%.
Let’s add some economic theory to all of this. Think of the first time you got a top grade on some coursework or test. Were you happy? How long did that happiness last? Not that long, am I right? Now think about the second time you got this grade. Were you just as happy? Did it last for just as long? I didn’t think so. Doesn’t this suggest that we get relatively less happy every time we succeed? Or that we get less happy every time we get happy?
So, this can mean two things; either the goals aren’t big enough, or it’s simply all about enjoying the journey. I think the latter. I think we get less happy every time we get happy about the same thing, so I intend to make my journey diverse. Why? It’s my path in pursuit of happiness.