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  Chapter 26 from
Happiness
Formulas, stories, and insights

By Rabbi Zelig Pliskin 


Other Available Chapters
37  41 


Enjoy the Pursuit

“When I establish a successful business, then I can be happy. Until then, I feel tense and nervous.”

“When I get married, I’ll be happy. But until then, I don’t see how I can be happy.”

“When my book is published, then happiness will be mine. But until then, the entire process causes me a lot of stress.”

“When I finally finish school, I’ll be happy. But until I graduate, you can’t expect me to be happy.”

Setting and reaching goals enables you to accomplish. An extremely common error is to think that you have to wait to reach your goals to be happy. The solution is to enjoy the entire process.

Anyone who really wants to accomplish will set new goals as soon as present goals are reached. This means that only by enjoying the journey towards reaching goals will such people be happy.

“But what if I don’t reach the goals that I set for myself? How can I be happy if I’m not certain that I will actually reach my goal?” some people ask.

When you set a goal for yourself, you have a better chance of succeeding than if you had not made a goal for yourself. But you never have a guarantee that you will reach a specific goal. Experiencing positive emotions while working on your goal will usually give you greater amounts of energy with which to work on your projects. And it will be much easier for other people to get along with you when you are calm than if you would be highly stressed and nervous. If you don’t reach a goal, no problem. Just set another one.

My husband was impossible to speak to when he was in the middle of a major project. He was so nervous and tense. He would raise his voice to me and the children for minor annoyances. When he finally reached his goal, he was pleasant for a week or two. But then he would work on another project and again he was difficult to deal with. I insisted that he go for counseling. He claimed it was not his fault. It was my fault. It was the children’s fault. It was his boss’s fault. But then he blew up at a policeman who gave him a ticket for speeding. The judge censured him for speaking to the policeman the way he did. When my husband claimed it was not his fault, the judge told him that he must go for counseling to learn how to deal with stress.

My husband and I went together to a family counselor who quickly got a picture of the problem.

“How much of the time do you spend on working on goals and how much of the time do you just enjoy the fact that you reached your goals?” the counselor asked.

When my husband tried to give an honest answer, he saw that the majority of the time he was working towards a goal. If he kept up his present attitude that he needed to feel stressed out whenever he was trying to reach a goal, he would feel much stress and tension and very little satisfaction.

The counselor said that there are two type of drivers. There are drivers whose only goal is to get to their destination. They do not like the trip at all. They only want to get to where they are going. They suffer during the trip and this spills over to when they finally reach their destination. And then there are drivers who enjoy the scenery wherever they are. The entire trip is part of their adventure. The same applies to attitudes towards all goals.

My husband is very logical and this made sense to him. He told both the counselor and myself that he was going to be committed to enjoy the entire process of setting and reaching goals. My husband’s strength of character and dedication to a mission enables him to reach his goals. Now he started using these same qualities to enjoy himself while he was working towards a goal.

I remember the day my husband told me, “It’s amazing how much I am enjoying myself daily. It was really crazy of me to make myself and the entire family so miserable just because I was working towards a goal.”

 
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