I had an experience the other day with my seven-year-old daughter, and it made me realize something about happiness and the states of depression and misery that we all go through.
My daughter has been struggling with learning how to read. When compared to her peers, she is behind, so her mother and I decided to hire a tutor to help her catch up. We found a really great tutor who has been coming to the house to work with her and teach her how to read better, and in only two weeks, I am really starting to see a difference.
The other night I was sitting with her, and she was reading a book, and I could see how excited she was. I told her how proud I was of her, and I saw the biggest smile I had seen on her face. She was so proud of herself and so happy. It was a picture of pure joy.
At that moment, I wanted to be in her place and to feel that excitement, and to experience that same joy because it was so pure and so honest.
This moment made me take a look back on my life and realize that I, too, had those moments of happiness and pride in myself at various times. When I was younger and learning to play basketball, I remember the excitement and joy I felt every time I made a basket from further away. I remember moments when I was in school and the pride that I felt when I would get a good grade on a test after working hard to learn the material.
By the time I hit my twenties, I had stopped having so many of these moments, and I fell into a depression. During this time, I was also partying a lot, and I became addicted to drugs. I wasn’t really learning anything or progressing in life. In fact, I was doing the opposite, and it all came crashing down when I hit rock bottom. I went bankrupt, lost my business, went through a divorce, and moved back into my mother’s house.
This moment in my life was the lowest I’ve been, and happiness didn’t seem like a possibility.
It wasn’t until I found out I was going to be a father, which led me to discover fitness that it began to turn around. I was 31 years old, and I was beginning to feel happiness again. I wasn’t just happy, I was learning new things about health and starting my own workout routines. I could see a visible progression every time that I looked in the mirror and it felt good.
You see, the key to happiness is progress and to never stop learning.
We all think that as we get older, we already know all the basics and so we stop learning new things. Most of us hit a point where we stop seeking out new experiences, and we get stuck in one spot in our life, and we wonder why we are so miserable all the time.
If you want to be happy, and you want that sense of pride, then you need to seek out accomplishment, and to accomplish something, you must learn something new.
Now, I am sure that are some of you that will read this and feel like this doesn’t apply to you. Maybe you are already happy, and you don’t find yourself in these states of depression or misery. If this is you, chances are you are already learning. You are probably making progress in your life, whether it be in your health, wealth, or relationships.
However, if you are someone that is in a state of depression, like most of us are, find something that interests you and begin to learn more about it and become involved with it.
The key to perpetuating happiness is never to stop learning.
If Happiness Comes from Learning, Why Do We Ever Stop?
If the key to happiness is making progress and learning, why do we ever stop? Learning something new seems like an easy enough concept, right?
If you take a look back at the trajectory of our lives, you will notice that these moments of happiness where we were learning and growing due to new achievements become fewer and farther apart as we get older.
The older you get, the less of these moments you have, but why?
As adults our past conditioning teaches us that we have been beaten down or that we are not smart enough to accomplish new things. We become afraid to put ourselves out there or to try something new because we are afraid of failing, and we become so scared of judgment. These fears are what holds us back, so we stop learning and just stick to what we know.
Once we stop learning, we become miserable, and we end up living a life full of misery and unhappiness. We then end up on this perpetuating cycle of fear that is difficult to escape.
This cycle of misery can be difficult to break, especially as society teaches us to stay in this box, constantly comparing ourselves to others and the lives we see on social media. We see these perfect people living these perfect lives, and it makes us feel worse about ourselves and the lives that we are leading. This then plays into the already existing fear of not being good enough, not being smart enough, and the fear that if we try to put ourselves out there, we will fail and be judged.
This cycle continues until suddenly you are reaching the end of your life only to realize that you missed out on so much and spend most of your life in a state of unhappiness. You have all this regret from the things you didn’t do because you were afraid of failure and judgment.
It’s time to break this cycle.
Don’t worry about what others are going to think about you. Don’t worry about trying something new and failing. If you fail, so what. Learn from it and try again.
This week, I want to challenge you to go out there and find something new to learn. Challenge yourself and let go of your past conditioning and the fear of failure. Find something that you are interested in and begin to work on it.
I’m not telling you to go out and find what you are passionate about, but just to find something that interests you and give yourself the chance to learn something and to make new accomplishments that you can be proud of.
Leave a comment below, or reach out on social media and let me know how you are challenging yourself. How are you growing this week?