What If You Get Everything You Wanted?

A man celebrating his win.

I am in the food business – food eating business. I have always been a foodie. There are certain dishes that are my favorites, and then there are those I’m constantly exploring. From the classic Hyderabadi Chicken Dum Biryani to the exotic Quinoa Veg Salad, I’ve pretty much tried it all.

Back in school, my only dream was to have loads of money in my bank account. Why? Well, it’s simple—I wanted to be able to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I truly believed that this would be the key to reaching my highest potential, what Maslow called “Self-Actualization.”

So, picture this: I finally got my first salary! I was thrilled because now I could finally treat myself to any food my heart desired. I thought, “This is it! Happiness is just a bite away!” Let me tell you, that dream was still far from becoming a reality. You see, my first paycheck didn’t even come close to covering all the deliciousness I craved.

Fast forward eight long years to today, and I’m earning enough to afford whatever I want to eat. Sounds like a foodie’s dream come true, right? Well, here’s the kicker—I still haven’t found that elusive happiness. Crazy, right?

Chasing Infinity’s Illusion

We often fantasize about getting everything we want, making it the primary goal we strive for through hard work and earning money. However, most of us never think about what happens after we get everything we want?

In the thought-provoking Netflix Documentary, “Miss Americana,” Taylor Swift shares her experience winning the Album of the Year award at the Grammys for the second time. She says, “I never thought it was a possibility…and I remember thinking afterward: That was all you wanted. That was all you focused on.” She continues, “You get to the mountaintop and you look around and you’re like, “Oh God. What now?”

It turns out that when you’re constantly chasing after something that seems infinite, it’s less likely to actually bring you contentment. It’s like running on a never-ending treadmill. What once felt like the ultimate goal, suddenly becomes just the starting point. And that’s when the big question hits you: “What now?”

Actor Jim Carrey once said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

Happiness: The Endless Chase

In our relentless search for happiness, we often forget what true happiness even looks like. We get so caught up in the chase, always yearning for something more, that we lose sight of the simple pleasures right in front of us

I’ve come to realize that it’s not about reaching that final destination or achieving some grand goal. No, it’s the pursuit itself that brings us joy. Because once you finally reach that coveted goal, your brain has this funny way of normalizing it. It becomes part of your everyday life, and that initial excitement fades away. Suddenly, it’s not so special anymore, and your brain starts craving the next big thing—the next “precious” thing if you will. It’s a never-ending loop that keeps us perpetually seeking, forever longing for something intangible.

And that’s how the vicious cycle begins.

The Art of Being Yourself

While it is important to set ambitious goals to achieve success, it is equally important to pause and reflect on your progress. Here are three key steps you can take to discover happiness:

Derive Pleasure From the Journey.

In the 47th verse of the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says:

“कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥ २-४७”

“You have the right to work only but never to its fruits. Let not the fruits of action be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction.”

Whether you’re writing, drawing, or engaging in any activity, do it for the sheer joy it brings. Don’t fixate on outcomes; instead, revel in the process itself. Don’t look at the numbers, don’t look the hours spent on task and don’t look at the target achieved in day. Just show up to work.

Celebrate Small Wins.

The pervasive hustle culture has popularized the belief that there is always something new to pursue, leading to an endless cycle. Set small goals and take out time to celebrate achievements. This allows your brain to relax. Interestingly, a relaxed mind often yields results that surpass those produced by an overwhelmed and overworked mind.

Have Faith in Yourself.

Remember that your worth goes beyond mere materialistic accomplishments. Your true identity lies in who you are as an individual, not in your job title or awards, which are temporary in nature. Focus on personal growth and strive to become the best version of yourself, allowing others to recognize and appreciate you for your authentic qualities.

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