“What can I do that would make you happy?” the doctor said.
“The only thing is if, right now, you write me a check for a million dollars,” I said.
“And you think you’ll be happy then?”
“I KNOW I will be happy then,” I said.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “You’ll find something new to be miserable about.”
“No way,” I said, “that’s all I need.”
But he was right. I always needed something else.
There was always a new trial by fire. And when you are burned, you can lose everything. Which I did and did and did and did.
I wanted to be a millionaire by 30 (didn’t happen)
I wanted to be a grandmaster of chess, maybe even World Champion (didn’t happen)
I wanted to be published novelist by 25 (didn’t happen after 4 solid attempts and thousands of hours of trying)
I wanted to be THE GUY to take Lori Byer’s virginity in 9th grade. There was zero chance that was happening. That was sort of laughable actually.
I wanted to be a billionaire by 40. Didn’t happen.
I wanted to be a successful hedge fund manager, writer, TV guy, dating website maker, book store worker, and many other things.
And everything I listed above, I TRIED. I had a business with 40 employees at age 30. I started hedge funds, wrote novels, screenplays, made dating sites.
And everything was a goddamn drag. “To be” anything is a fight, a goal. I’m tired of goals.
And ribbons. I’m tired of all the ribbons.
I felt I needed to master something in order to be loved.
It’s not that mastering something is bad. Or trying to master something. But making it a condition of happiness is probably not so healthy.
Just like we have to practice ping pong to be good at it, we have to practice happiness to be good at it.
Someone on a comment said yesterday that “life is significant and to not strive for perfection is to be mediocre.”
That is self-hurt. Not self-help.
Who made the rules on perfect?
Everything that involves “I want to be X” means first (by definition), “I am not.” Stop with the “NOT”. I don’t want to be a NOT.
I was taught I had to “pay my dues” or have a “trial by fire” or “10,000 hours”.
And then. And then…the ribbon. Perfection! And then I was taught go to college, buy a house, fight for my life… for my whole life.
It turns out they were lying. It was a circus and I was the performer. I had to jump through hoops to get the prize.
But you can’t buy happiness with unhappiness.
Much more fun to sit in the audience. And to laugh at the clowns. But I had to figure out who the clowns were.
Clowns are very tricky you know. They are in disguise and wear a lot of makeup.
Can you find the clowns in your life?
And once I learned to laugh at the clowns, everything was like magic. Everything I ever wanted came true.