As many of us have heard, the scribbles by Albert Einstein detailing his theory to happiness has just recently sold for over $1.5 million.
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”
Stating that constantly trying to better yourself will not result in happiness seems very controversial at a first glance, but what does he really mean by this sentence?
In a way, Einstein had written down, in different words, another controversial statement by so many; money doesn’t buy you happiness.
Of course those with lots of money like to say this every day, “money will solve none of your problems,” and on the other side, people with little to no money like to say, “well it certainly helps!”
We live in a world that constantly wants more more more, we think if we can get our new car, phone, raise, job, kid, vacation, clothes, etc. that we will be happier. And in reality, we do, briefly, feel happier after we receive these things.
But it’s not getting these things that actually makes us happy. Rather, it’s the fact that we are no longer in our wanting, needing and restless stage. For a moment we are calm.
What so many people fail to realize is that getting better and getting more isn’t what makes us happy, it doesn’t make you feel fulfilled and it doesn’t make you more successful, it just makes you want more.
In reality, whether you have money or you don’t, you will not be happy unless you can accept that what you have is enough. If you have very little money, you struggle with paying bills and buying food. When you have lots of money you struggle with managing people and business, paying bills and paying for the food of all the families that you pay to work for you. Whether either of these sounds easier or harder to you is irrelevant, the point is that everyone struggles and wants things easier.
I’m certainly not saying we should stop striving for more and stop pushing the boundaries of success, I just believe that we need to be happy and accept what we have. We need to realize that the more we have the more we realize these things won’t make us happy and the more we become unhappy. We need to realize that learning to be happy with the calm of our current situation is where happiness is.
Even at this, Albert Einstein believes that we are pushing away happiness. In order to find constant, true happiness we need to be diligent and happy with what we have and not constantly push for more success as it will make us restless. And, as I can attest, after every success, you will always want more.
Finding happiness is more about accepting what’s in front of you than ever wondering if maybe there’s something more.