State of mind.
“Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness, therefore, is not about making it to the peak of the mountain, nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain: happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.”
- Tal Ben-Shahar
Harvard professor Tal Ben-Shahar taught one of the most popular classes in the university's history — Positive Psychology 1504.
Of all the nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned from his book, Happier, what has stuck with me most is the way he breaks down his "Happiness Model" into four mindsets — with the fourth being the optimal.
If you are more of a visual thinker, here it is mapped out (please excuse my chicken scratch handwriting 😉 ):
So with this table as reference, here are the four mindsets he described:
- The Rat Race mindset focuses exclusively on the benefits of the future, even if it is to the detriment of the present moment. People with this mindset are unable to enjoy, much less see, the wonderful things happening around them right now.
- The Hedonist is on the opposite end of the spectrum. People with this mindset go full tilt on doing whatever seems fun or enjoyable right now, even if it is to the detriment of their future.
- The Nihilist sees benefit in neither the future nor the present. Nothing is going well now and nothing is going to go well in the future. Yeah, it’s a rough place to be.
- The Happy Person falls in the fourth quadrant. With this mindset, we allow ourselves to make ambitious plans for the future but still enjoy the journey.
What state of mind are you in?