When was the last time you did something just for the sake of it? Just for the reason of knowing how it will make you feel? Like creating something for someone you love, chatting to a stranger, or aimlessly wandering through a bustling city with no destination in mind?
As a society, we’ve become so goal oriented. We tend to lean towards doing things that have a tangible outcome. Something we can see, attach a label to, easily understand or describe. And we’re taught to believe that this is what life is about. That when we achieve these goals or attain the things we wish for, we will finally feel content.
But in the pursuit of goals and outcomes, we’ve totally forgotten what really matters. The experience of the in-between moments, the feelings and emotions we experience every day. We get so focused on the chase for the end result that we forget the most important part - the right here and now, and the journey and experience along the way.
And for many of us, the present moment can sometimes feel uncomfortable. You may not be overly content with who you are as a person or how your life has shaped up to be. You may feel lonely, have regret or feel shame, and it may be easier to look ahead and plan for your dream life as a way of escaping your current reality. It may be more comfortable to live in the belief that your happiness is somewhere ‘out there’, if you only achieve, attain, or become whatever it is you think you need, first.
But how many times have you reached a big goal or achieved something you’ve dreamed about for years, only to feel the same as you did. No better, no different. Your days feel the same. So you set your next goal. You plan your next escape, and the chase begins again.
Ultimately, in this pursuit of goals and outcomes, what you’re really chasing is a feeling. Whether that be happiness, a feeling of accomplishment or being confident in your skin; you’re chasing an emotion. Take a moment to let that sink in.
You know that successful business you want to have? You’re probably chasing autonomy. That healthy relationship you want to be in? You’re likely chasing acceptance. That house you want to own? It’s probably security that you need. That round the world trip you want to take? You’re probably chasing freedom.
And while achieving these goals and following your dreams can absolutely bring about these feelings and emotions (we’re not downplaying the importance of having drive and purpose), it’s only when you learn to do little things that create these feelings and emotions in your everyday life, that your life will truly start to flourish. This is when you will truly feel content.
And the harsh reality of it is, our existence is finite. Tomorrow isn’t promised. Five years from now is not something that we’ll all have. So in order to truly make the most of your life, you need to embody who and what you want to become, and how you want to feel, today.
So I implore you to think about what it is that you’re really chasing; how do you truly want to feel? And what can you do today, to start embodying these feelings and emotions?
When you understand that all you’re chasing is a feeling, your whole world will change.