From a young age we are usually told by "leaders" and parental figures something along the lines of, "You have to graduate high school and go to college so you can get a good job to make lots of money. Then you can buy yourself a nice car and a nice house, and then finally you can get married, have babies and live happily ever after." Naturally, based on the fact that this has been conditioned into our minds from a very young age, we automatically merge these things with the definition of success and happiness resulting in the creation and more so obstacle of meeting these goals, more often than not, by a certain age.
Unfortunately there are certain details that some how usually fly under the radar unless actively researched, such as the fact that in the U.S. alone, there is a total of $900 billion in student loan debt! In addition to people struggling to get out of this mess, only one third of college graduates end up working jobs that even require a degree. In 2007 a quarter of all marriages, in 26 countries ended in divorce and more than half of all marriages in Finland, the U.S., Belarus and Sweden sadly failed as well. Looking beneath the statistics, it is no secret that divorces are not pretty. They often destroy families, leaving behind depression, anger, and resentment amongst a list of other horrible far reaching effects. Because I consider myself to be an optimist and prefer not to dwell on what may be perceived by some as negativity, I will not get into the debt accrued from houses and automobile loans and the heart ache that has resulted, but please don't take my word for it, feel free to research all this information yourself.
Next I would like to touch on the mainstream media. This power house is the number one marketing tool used in the world today, and their primary objective is to draw in their audience by appealing to their "wants". This industry spends billions and billions to influence the public on buying products they don't even really need by triggering their insecurities and focusing on that emptiness inside that presumably all of us at some point have felt. They even influence the support in politics and subtly help enforce certain beliefs and outlooks on the world. If this were done by a rival government however,we quickly call it propaganda, corruption and brain washing but when done by our "own" blindly coin it advertising.
My point here is we are constantly saturated with both disinformation and misinformation of how to gain happiness and success. Eventually, based on all this crap, we formulate ridiculous goals/obstacles because of how distorted our perception of success has become and we unconsciously enter ourselves into the "rat race". Sadly these "advertisements" and "leaders", who insidiously propose their module of what success and happiness is, are only creating a bigger void and also a bigger want, leading us into darker and darker territory. The irony is we feel this feeling inside but foolishly look for answers outside of ourselves.
Confucius once said, "Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated" Please allow me to elaborate as to how this applies here. The goal in life is a very simple one my friends, the path to success IS happiness and vice versa. Our focus then must always be on our internal state and keeping peace and contentment within. Every choice we make must always ask the question, "Is this good for my internal state?" Every action we take must be to empower ourselves within. When we listen and focus on within, our lives change and this is because we change within, but as I said you must always ask yourself "Is this good for my internal state?"
When you watch a movie, is it really wise to watch something that will take you on an emotional roller coaster? Why watch the news if it is always rooted in fear? (NOT a justification for ignorance) Why put something in your body that will fill that void and make you feel good for a very brief period of time but it makes you feel horrible within later? Why hangout with those people if they belittle or influence you to feel or act in a certain way not agreeable within? EVERY choice we make must be directed towards our own happiness, our own internal state, not some five step sheeple program that is a conformist delusion.
Unless our internal state is good, NOTHING else matters. Therefore the goal is a simple one, just focus on self empowerment while avoiding anything that may conflict, there will be times when we find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, but instead of allowing the five senses to take charge and overwhelm you, concentrate on calming your inner state as best as you can and simply view this as an opportunity to practice this. To add to this simple way of life in contrast to the "norm", unless we are content beings within we will not perform to the best of our ability in college or at our "good" job. We will not be able to maintain, not only a marriage, but even a relationship because that emptiness inside will overflow and become a burden for our partner, children and friends to bear too.
You see my friends, it is simple, we must focus on making the source (within) happy and whole and everything else will follow but if we neglect the source, allowing it to crumble and fall apart so will everything else. This is simply a choice, so choose to think for yourself, choose to empower yourself, choose to take full responsibility for your life, choose to listen to within and choose to redefine happiness and success ; )
"If you don't program yourself, life will program you!" - Les Brown
"Not creating delusions is enlightenment." - Bodhidharma
"I conceive that the great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by false estimates they have made of the value of things." - Benjamin Franklin
"Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts." - Albert Einstein
"Nobody can bring you peace but yourself." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want." - Lao Tzu
"Anything that distracts you from fidelity to the Ruler within you - means a loss of opportunity for some other task. See then that the flow of your thoughts is kept from idle or random fancies, particularly those of an inquisitive or uncharitable nature." - Marcus Aurelius
"To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." - Shakespeare
"Riches are not from an abundance of worldly goods but from a contented mind." - Mohammad
"Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty." - Socrates
"What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul." - Jesus Christ
"Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances." - Gandhi
"In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you." - Deepak Chopra
"Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." - Buddha
"To end the misery that has afflicted the human condition for thousands of years, you have to start with yourself and take responsibility for you inner state at any given moment. That means now." - Eckhart Tolle
"We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves." - Dalai Lama
"No one is free who has not obtained the empire of himself." - Pythagoras
"Every decision you make, every decision, is not a decision about what to do. It’s a decision about who you Are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way. All events, occurrences, and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do." - Neale Donald Walsch
"Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold; the feeling of happiness dwells in the soul." - Democritus
"You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay? Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change." - Jim Rohn
"Life finds its purpose and fulfillment in the expansion of happiness." - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went 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." - John Lennon