That Good Feeling…
When I set a goal and complete it I feel good.
Most of my happiest moments are experienced directly after I complete a goal that was challenging but conquerable.
Everything just feels alright with the world after I know I did something well.
What I find interesting, however, is that this feeling never lasts.
If I do something I’m proud of I’ll feel great about it for an evening. It’s a buzz that permeates this short time-span but dissipates as soon as I shut my eyes for the night.
Once I wake up the next morning I feel that, once again, I need to find a goal to conquer. If I don’t do much over the next few hours, my achievement from the day before won’t provide that ‘buzz.’
This trend isn’t isolated to the small achievements that I’m proud of. It continues up to those who have reached the upper echelons of business and ‘success.’
Men and women can build multi-billion dollar empires only to feel empty.
Tony Robbins, famous for his public speaking and ability to inspire others, told a story that emphasized this point.
Tony had just given the biggest speech of his career. He had spoken to thousands of individuals in a crowded theatre, each of which had paid an enormous sum to attend. It was his last speech of a weekend long summit and he had kept the crowds hanging on his every word for the past 48 hours.
As the final applause roared around him, Tony felt on top of the world. He had just influenced thousands of people and would influence millions more with the recorded version of the conference. In addition, he had made well over $1 million in just a few short hours.
He walked off stage, and for the rest of the night felt like a king. He was the champion. He knew it and everyone else knew it.
The next morning, however, he woke up and felt surprisingly neutral. He ate scrambled eggs for breakfast, and began thinking about what his next conference would be like.
Having climbed the highest peak of achievement, he only reveled in the view from the top for a few hours before heading for the next summit.
Tony gave a talk that changed the lives of thousands and he felt the subsequent ‘rush’ for a couple hours.
When I write a few blog posts for clients, I get the same rush. I feel amazing for a few hours and nothing can bring me down.
Why do Tony and I feel the same rush? Why does his achievement not feel 1,000 times more intense? Why does it not last 1,000 times as long?
I think it’s because we’re all built with the same machinery. A dopamine rush can be stimulated by knowing you’ve achieved something great, but Tony and I have (roughly) the same amount.
When he gets a ‘buzz’ his body doesn’t release 1,000 times the ‘happy’ chemicals. In fact, if he even released 10% more than me he’d probably have a disorder.
We all feel good when we achieve something we set our minds to. The good feeling we get when we achieve, however, doesn’t get more intense as the achievements increase.
So long as your achievement pushed you beyond yourself, you’ll feel great about following through.
It doesn’t matter if you are Tony Robbins striving for a $1 million dollar speech after giving a $500,000 speech or me striving to earn an extra few cents per word for my blog posts. The incremental improvement feels good.
Doing something that is just a little beyond yourself is all you need to do. I’m beginning to think that this may be the true great equalizer when it comes to happiness.
No matter where you start you will always be able to feel good so long as you continue to improve.
I feel just as good at Tony when I earn $400 writing for clients.