How many times have you been asked – or asked yourself – this question. How much time or energy have you spent crafting your answer to this? It seems like more often than not, the answers to this question tend to be of the “established in my career, married, 2.5 kids, with a nice house in the burbs” variety. People want to seem put together and focused, and attain certain life benchmarks that equal “success” by someone’s measure. These are the things that people seem to equate with happiness as well.
Is this the best or only way to answer this question?
Can we look at this – and should we – from a different perspective?
I say yes to both. Emphatically.
What if, instead of thinking into the distant future, we focused on a five minute plan. Think of something you can do in the near future that you want to do. Not what someone tells you to. Not what you think you should be doing, but what you want to do. Something that adds meaning to your life or makes you happy. It doesn’t have to be something huge, or immediately life changing, but it will have an impact and move you further towards your ultimate goals.
Also, instead of thinking about “things”, try to focus on bigger picture things like being happy, having a job you love, or being surrounded by people that love and support you regardless of the “things” you have or don’t. At the end of day, these are the things that I know make me feel rewarded and fulfilled.
These approaches also allow for more freedom, more exploration, more chances to try new and different things since you’re not tying yourself to any one path. This allows you to truly listen to yourself to figure out what the best path for *you* is – not what someone else tells you or you think is the right answer. Live life for you. Don’t be afraid of making some wrong turns.
Listen to your heart, be happy, and follow what inspires you. You may end up taking a slight detour, but you’re still on your way to where you are meant to be.