Scott Adams of the Dilbert Blog wrote a great post titled The Meaning of Meaning. It’s about finding a higher purpose in life and how success alone isn’t satisfying. Scott provides some great examples from his personal experience. This is my favorite passage:
I remember when Dilbert hit it big and it became clear that I would never again have to worry about money. It was a wonderful feeling, but it didn’t last. I went from happy to hollow with no warning. The first moment that I could afford any car I wanted, I lost interest in having a nice car. I simply couldn’t see the point, if there ever was one. Success is surprisingly disorienting.
One day, about ten years ago, I was alone in my office, sitting on the couch and reflecting on the fact that I had managed to become rich and famous in my dream job. For the first time in my life, I had no goals. And for a goal-oriented guy, that’s an empty feeling. Success was supposed to feel good and stay that way. But it tricked me. There was a huge hole in my soul. I sat in my office and sobbed.
This immediately reminded me of an article I wrote a ways back about the power of a Life Lie. The lie isn’t believing that you can reach your goals, the lie is believing that reaching your goals will solve all your problems.
As you can see from Scott’s experience, becoming wealthy in your dream job won’t make you happy forever. It’s actually depressing. We’re happiest when we’re on our way towards a goal. It follows that actually accomplishing our goals isn’t essential. The most important thing is making positive progress and having a higher purpose.