By Joan Marques
Ever been accused of being a selfish
person for chasing your dreams and wanting to achieve them no matter what?
Well, I have. And since I always thought of chasing dreams and reaching goals
as expressions of determination and perseverance, this bold accusation set me
to think. Here was someone telling me that my efforts to achieve my aims were
built on egoism!
Suddenly I laid the link between happiness and
selfishness. For, isn’t everybody ultimately striving for happiness? And
doesn’t happiness have as many faces as there are people in the world? Isn’t
happiness tailored to what we expect from life? Think about it: for one
happiness may mean being with that one special partner, for another it may
consist of being wealthy, and for yet another it may be as much as
experiencing peaceful serenity.
And, as I mentioned in previous writings
on this fascinating topic, happiness is also a moving target: as things and
circumstances change in our lives, happiness becomes defined differently.
What used to personify happiness for me at age 19, for instance, is not so
anymore. I have an entire different “package” of conditions representing
happiness nowadays than in the good old ones.
It is definitely no news
either that happiness changes once you have realized one dream. It simply
moves on: Another dream replaces the old one, and happiness is once again out
of reach. So, the hunt can restart. Hurray!
But to get back to the
initial accusation that brought this all about: if happiness is nothing but
the realization of our deepest desires; shouldn’t we actually cease seeing
egoism as something negative and start praising it as the only way progress
is being made? After all, it is egoism that drives some people to work harder
and longer than they actually should in order to earn the money they need to
realize the materialistic parts of their dreams. And it is egoism that drives
people to achieve anything they focus on. It is, therefore, egoism that leads
to success, no matter what you choose your definition of “success” to
To me, for instance, success is nothing more than doing what I
like: executing my passion. I love being a university professor, because I
love sharing the knowledge I gained through study and through life’s lessons
with others, while, at the same time, this knowledge gets enhanced by the
bits and pieces these others contribute in the process of knowledge
exchanging. I see that as success. I do what I like most, and I do it in a
setting that does not tie me to a boring daily schedule, which, to me, would
be the epitome of unhappiness. So, since I have achieved that, I feel that I
am successful. And happy! Now, how selfish is that?
Some may say,
“Very selfish!” And maybe they are right. But if that is true, then
selfishness should immediately be liberated from its negative connotation.
For selfishness, in that case, is nothing else than “what drives people to
achieve their happiness.” And a happy world is one where people can stand
each other so much better.
The only regrettable note here may be that
sometimes the happiness of one person is achieved at the expense of another.
Not deliberately, maybe, but still. It may be that two people are striving
for the same goal: a desirable partner, or a prestigious position at work,
for instance. And unfortunately, this partner, or this position, is one and
the same entity. Thus, the one who finally succeeds in attracting that
partner or position will be successful and happy. The other will
A positive way to end this little write up may be that, fortunately,
most of us, human beings, are flexible creatures. That means that we can
adapt to change and learn to focus on something new. If one goal turns out to
be unachievable, most of us have the suppleness to redefine our desire and
go for the newly formulated goal.
So, hurray to egoism, success,
flexibility, and happiness!
The Changing Definition of Happiness
Ever considered how multi-interpretable the question
“Are you happy?” really
And it is not just that happiness means something
different for every
person, but also that for each individual the
substance of happiness changes
as circumstances do.
Trouble will come, there is no escaping it, but trouble can richly
bless us. We may find our life changing direction and seeing
possibilities we may have missed if trouble had not brought its gift
Are You a Positive Thinker?
Are you a positive thinker; the kind of person who can get the most from life and your relationships? Try this quiz and find out.
A Lesson in Letting Go and Prosperity
I hear from people all the time, it usually always
stems from not having enough money. Well, guess what. You can do many things
without money that has to do with money. Don't believe me? I have more
success stories up my sleeve than you have time.