Many people chase happiness as the ultimate goal. This is flawed in many, many ways.
Many leaders also tell us to follow our passions. This is not too far from the truth, but not exactly right either.
As humans, we can exist. We can live everyday by simply eating, sleeping, using the bathroom, and being zombies. We exist for the sake of existing. This is fine, but striving for something better usually makes life more interesting.
Over the past week, I found myself sitting in my apartment in San Antonio, enjoying YouTube, books, and all the great things the internet has to offer.
I started to notice how alone I felt. I started to consider that I was an extrovert instead of being the introvert I always thought I was. Then I realized something was missing from my life. Something of use, perhaps.
And that was just it. Being useful to the world around me. While I am exploring career opportunities, in recent weeks, I’ve spent quite a lot of time alone, working on projects here or there. These projects are quite solitary and really useful only to myself.
While many of us chase happiness, I think the real goal in life is to be useful to your community. That is, you are providing value, giving back, and participating in your community on a regular basis. Doing these things on a regular basis has been quite devoid of my time for the entire year.
I was sick for six months, I left my job to take time off, and now I am able to realize the value of being useful. Being useful not only helps us be a part of our community, but also provides us with an opportunity to socialize, build self-esteem, and even make our community and others better.
As you become useful, you will share a bit of yourself and others will share a bit of themselves with you. This sharing of experience is a vital part of life and is essential to living longer. Those with high quality relationships with others tend to live longer.
As you go through your day, think of the ways you are being useful to those around you. Engage with the people around you and discover what makes them useful. Stop chasing happiness, stop searching for your passions, and just be useful. The rest will come.