What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

I believe you will never be truly happy until you know what happiness means to you. Society gives us a generalized definition of happiness in which we have a well paying job, spouse, 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. Webster defines happiness as a state of well-being and contentment. Albeit a nice thought, this definition tells us nothing about what happiness consists of. The reason being is because it can’t! There is no such thing as a universal definition of happiness, and this is why webster dictionary fails to define it.

You must define the term yourself

This idea stems far beyond happiness. We must, to live the life we have imagined, re-define all the terms that we use to measure the quality of our lives. We can no longer be satisfied through living by the terms of an objective definition. Regarding day to day affairs, one must turn from the objective towards the subjective for inner tranquility and joy.

  • How do YOU define what it is to be good? to be bad?
  • How do YOU define success?
  • What must YOU do to feel accomplished? Fulfilled?

In the deepest core of our being we have already defined these terms. Unfortunately, most have not brought these terms to the conscious level of thought. To live in a way in which you hope to meet your own ideas of what these terms mean, but to not know how you define them is to blindly grasp in the dark. If you are lucky your actions may run parallel with a few of your major beliefs. If you are not, no matter how hard you try, your outer life will never resemble your inner values.

The happiest men and women to have walked this earth have lived according to their values, not those of society.

They defined all the major terms for themselves and lived accordingly. Herein lies one of your greatest freedoms. When we define our own terms, we define our own world. For lack of a better means of communicating this idea, in a sense, you become your own god.

Imagine conversing with your creator just before birth. He/She says, “I love you, and I want you to experience your one and only life to its highest potential. I offer you the greatest gift I can fathom. You are free to decide why you are here. Do not concern yourself with the beliefs of your fellow man, nor even myself. You are free to value whatever you wish, and to go live there. You are free to define the terms of your existence.”

This sounds like quite possibly the most wonderful of all experiences. A life in which YOU, and you alone, are free to value whatever you wish, and to live by these values. This would be the greatest of gifts from your maker. Well, you were given this gift. And you are living it.

You are free to decide what you value

You are free to define all the major terms for yourself. You decide what is good. You decide what is bad. You decide what it means for you to be successful. Now go live as such.

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spark Your Growth

We will never find what our soul yearns for if we adopt the values of others

If I pursue what society deems successful, but that concept does not run parallel to my own values, I will never find true joy. This is the best way to miss the beauty of this place. The very best exercise to set forth on making this life your own is to sit alone in a room quietly. Allow your thinking mind to slow to halt. With this new found inner space - explore your depths. See what it is you truly value. Not the values of your peers, but what YOU value. Learn your own definitions of all the major terms, write them down, and live by them.

This is where real happiness is found. This is where your true freedom is found. In the words of William Ernest Henley,

"I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul."