Hint: there is no destination called “happiness”
I believe we all live on a spectrum of potential. On the left side is what I call your “Current Self”. That’s a representation of you and where you are in your life right now.
On the right side of the spectrum is what I call your “Potential Self”. That’s the ideal version of who you want to be.
Your potential self might help more people. Have more money. Life a more interesting life. Run a better business. Exercise more. Be a better husband/wife/parent, etc.
When you work long hours and make sacrifices, they’re done with the intention of moving closer to your potential self.
Now, I’m not saying you should be upset with your current self. If you’re happy with how you are, then great. You should be.
But what’s the one thing that helps people “bridge the gap” from their current to potential self?
People who make huge, consistent progress simply work smarter. They make more sacrifices. And they’ve learned to rewire their brains so that what most people consider pain is, to them, actually interpreted as progress.
Complacency becomes their enemy. And they do whatever they can to avoid it. If they get too comfortable for too long, they make drastic changes in their relationships, their business or their environment.
If they feel like they’re coasting along, they’ll risk everything on a new venture or idea to shake things up and re-focus themselves on where they want to be.
But here’s the interesting thing about your potential self…
You don’t ever want to become it. Because if you do, it won’t make you happy. That’s the funny thing about drive, hustle and ambition that you won’t find in any books.
Drive not only gets you on the right path, but should also keep you on that path indefinitely, continually becoming and then upgrading what your own personal definition of “potential self” is.
That last paragraph is important. Read it again if it didn’t make sense.
“Why wouldn’t I want to become my potential self?”. Great question. And the answer is a simple one: because the end state isn’t what makes us happy.
It’s who we become during the learning journey from our current self to our potential self that makes us happy and keeps us energized every day.
If you ever meet a successful person that’s “made it” and is completely miserable, there’s a very good chance they got to where they THOUGHT they wanted to end up, but didn’t decide on a new potential self first.
On the other hand, if you meet a successful person that’s “made it” and is completely happy, you can be sure of 3 very important things:
- They’re driven like you wouldn’t believe. To become their best potential self and/or to help a huge number of people along the way.
- They don’t ever feel like they’ve achieved their life’s purpose or become their potential self. They work like they haven’t yet “made it”.
- They continue to learn and challenge themselves in all areas of life, including business, fitness, relationships and contribution.
In summary, the journey is designed to be better than the destination. Not because the destination isn’t great, but because the journey should be architected so that it never ends.
|About Mitchell Harper
Mitch is a 7x company founder, advisor and investor. He is best known as the co-founder of BigCommerce. His companies have generated over $200,000,000 in total revenue and he is currently building an online education company and a SaaS company.