“How on earth did you overcome a three-touchdown deficit with only seven minutes to play, coach?” the sportscaster asked. After a thoughtful moment, the coach replied, “I guess my guys just wanted it more.”
Why do we want what we want? How come some wants or desires are less motivating than others? It all comes down to whether we’re playing our own version of the hunger games, and playing for happiness rather than satisfaction.
Some of the things I want in life are things that I learned I should want. Winning is one of these. Making money, driving certain cars, and losing weight all fall into this category. When I achieve these goals, I am satisfied. I am comfortable.
Then there are the things I desire that, when I get them, produce a higher state—happiness. What makes me happy? Time spent pursuing things that don’t necessarily fulfill an objective that I learned I needed to achieve. Driving. Being in natural surroundings. Experiencing new sights with my family. Most music. Art. Architecture. Frequently these fall into the category of experiences as opposed to accomplishments.
Some things seem to produce happiness. Some produce satisfaction.
Winning my class in a rally? Satisfied.
Feeling I did everything in my power to win, but not winning? Happy.
Grabbing a project nobody else wanted and completing it well makes me happy.
If doing something or having something happen to me makes me satisfied, I see that as an interpretation of my Knower/Judger. It’s a want that I learned. Keep up with the Joneses. Get the corner office or the gold star. Stay in my comfort zone, where the K/J loves to curl up. A telltale sign that you have satisfied a K/J desire is that the feeling is relatively short-lived. Like winning a rally…momentary extreme satisfaction, then “What’s next?”
The feeling that extends beyond an event and becomes a state, to me, is happiness. Satisfaction is defined by an achievement; happiness is a state (of mind).
There are maybe five or six things I’ve accomplished in my life where, at the outset, no one would have given me much of a chance. These accomplishments are way beyond satisfying. They make me happy. When I reflect back on my mind-set as I set out to get what I wanted, it occurs to me that no one ever trained me to want these things; they were purely my own desires. They had nothing to do with making more money, or going faster, or much of anything to do with ego. I just knew that if I got this done it would make me happy.
Ever have one of those desires? Get it done. The memory (like the memory of the game down three touchdowns) lasts forever.
Hungry for happiness
“My guys just wanted it more.” What makes us put that kind of effort into something?
I call it hunger. Being satisfied seems to me like a logical/metric type of feeling. Being happy comes from the gut and is not related to anybody else’s ideas.
Sports metaphors always define the grittier, more tenacious, achievement-oriented players as “hungrier.”
Entrepreneurs with a dream will work 24/7 year-round to see their concept through to conclusion. Hungry.
You do whatever you do to make ends meet. Maybe you bring in enough money to cover your expenses. Maybe you don’t. Careers are sometimes made when the latter is the case and the employee gets hungry. Others are lost because the hunger isn’t there.
And some people are totally satisfied with whatever they’ve got. They may be total underachievers, but they are happy.
I can be:
• Satisfied and happy
• Satisfied and unhappy
• Unsatisfied and happy
• Unsatisfied and unhappy
Because each of these comes from a different place. Satisfaction comes from the head, happiness from the heart. Satisfaction relates to my role. Happiness relates to my soul.
What do you want? Why do you want it? Will it make you satisfied or happy?
I make every effort to prioritize happy. I hope you do too. Follow your hunger and experience the joy that comes from making your heart’s desires come true.