This is that time of the year, when company sets target for the employees. I too get a set of targets for the year. Over years people have asked me regarding my targets and how is it going? I always give the same answer, My target is “To be happy”. If I am not happy then most probably things are going to fail. Some took the response seriously and some thought I am just joking. But in reality whatever I said was true. I have never explained to anyone what I meant by that target. I thought this year I will reflect on it and give some shape to it.
Money is not the target
Most people think having lot of money and all those things that it can buy will bring in a lot of happiness. Even I thought the same. Yes money brings in happiness, but the happiness is momentary. For a short period of time I feel happy when I have that new gadget or whatever I bought. After sometime I get used to it and they became a burden. That I have to carry around & look after. My sister Rasia once summarized it well “If you are really good at something then never do it for the money”. So money is not the target.
Power is not the target
For some power gives lot of happiness. Sitting in the room alone, signing the approvals, showing authority over others, questioning actions, being tough etc., I somehow never felt happy doing any of these things. So I feel power is not my target.
I feel power should be something that makes someone feel secure, makes someone feel at home, lends the shoulders to stand on, allows someone to fail, provides enough freedom etc.,
Being appreciated is not the target
Appreciation from another person gives a lot of happiness. And the best part is its free. But in reality people don’t appreciate others that easily (they have a high price for the appreciation). Even when the appreciation is given it is not genuine some times. How does one differentiate between genuine and fake appreciation? The person receiving the appreciation knows most of the time. I have also felt sometimes why this was appreciated while the other one went unnoticed. After sometime I came to a point where seeking others approval and longing for appreciation creates more stress. So working for others appreciation is not the target.
Winning is not the target
Winning gives some amount of happiness. Winning arguments, competitions, other people, projects etc., And during every win there is winner and a loser. Only if it’s a Win-Win situation then it is a happy moment. But in a Win-Lose situations if am the winner I feel the happiness and I also feel the pain of the loser to some extent. So winning everything is not the target.
Award is not the target
Yes awards, the nomination, evaluation by jury, those jazzy ceremonies, that Oscar moment, pose for the photograph and the final speech. It does give lot of momentary happiness. But once you have been there and done that, it becomes boring and repetitive. Over the years it just becomes a ceremony. Award is not the target.
Target is to be happy
Yes I can hear the question. if none of this give happiness what gives you happiness. I can define a happy moment something like “During that moment time just melts, I am not looking at the watch & I cannot quantify that time. Sometimes a day feels like a few minutes, an hour feels like few seconds”. When does such moment happen? I cannot say when such moment will happen, but I can say when such moments happened in the past. For eg
- Coding the solution for a problem.
- Helping someone understand a core concept.
- Having a creative discussion with good people.
- Admiring others elegant solutions to complicated problems.
- Managing complexity and simplifying something.
- Investigating the root cause for a problem.
- Fixing something once for all.
- Finding new ways, new avenues, new opportunities, new people.
- Writing this blog.
- Creating a software tool for self.
- Conversing with great people through a book.
- See a solution evolve from a small start over time.
When I wakeup in the morning I seek such moments, if I find them quite often then my happiness quotient increases and the year becomes a successful year. If not the year turns out to be a failure. So that target is to be happy.