Life Goals: Be rich, make big money, make money, $$. Not my life goals, but my university students' life goals.
"Can money buy you happiness?" I ask curiously, trying not to sound too judgy.
"Well, I think so. I can buy many things. That will make me happy..."
I couldn't help but feel disappointed. This isn't just happening in image-obsessed Korea. One of the things I remembered clearly from the TED Talk given by Robert Waldinger about the longest study on happiness in history pointed out that 80% millennials wanted to be rich and 50% wanted to be famous. Check out the TED Talk here. I get it. In a world where you can transfer money, download music, order delivery, and swipe left/right to date, who wouldn't want to be insta-famous/rich?
What ever happened to the struggle though? Do you remember having to make mixed tapes? Or anything in fact where you had to struggle? Wasn't the result that much sweeter? When I was in high school, we would painstakingly make mixed tapes for each other as gifts. It meant something. It took time, effort, agile fingers (to press pause/stop). Maybe the recipients of my mixed tape gifts weren't that impressed, but I certainly was. Yeah Ace of Base!
Next week, I will be going to Norway to speak at a global women's conference, where I will be giving my Happiness Workshop I created, and have brought around the world. Since I won't be able to teach during that week, I decided to assign my students The HAPPY video project (part of my Happiness Workshop) where they have to go around campus and make as many people around them as happy as possible.
Several students asked, "Is this mandatory?"
To them I ask another question, "Is HAPPINESS mandatory in your life?" I just get blank stares in response. But here's why we should choose happiness: the myth that being SUCCESSFUL comes first and then HAPPINESS comes second is just that: a myth. HAPPINESS comes first, and then SUCCESS follows. There's a reason people tell you to not follow the money, but follow your heart instead. For more on this research, check out Shawn Achor's work.
I get a lot of students who look at me in bewilderment and ask in disbelief, "How can you be happy ALL the time?"
Here's the HOW:
Will you choose HAPPY?
*I actually was so taken by Shola's book, that mid-reading, I emailed him to ask if we could connect/collaborate. He actually emailed me back, and we had a phone call while I was in California last month! Such a cool guy. If you can get your hands on his book, I highly recommend it. Oh and Shola, like my husband, is living/breathing proof that being HAPPY -> SUCCESS.
**This blog post is dedicated to my husband: A man who chooses HAPPY every single day, regardless of the struggle.