The personal search for happiness: And why there’s no such thing

I’ve learned a lot about myself this past week. A whole lot.

And today, on this sunday morning where my house is still asleep and restless thoughts dance through my mind, I decided to rise early before church and get to writing this.

First off, I learned I don’t do traffic well *Anxiety central*. Secondly, I learned that coconut milk isn’t as good as it sounds *Tried it. Hated it*. Most importantly–there’s no such thing as my personal search for happiness. Let me explain.

This last Tuesday was my first day of training for my new job. And if you’ve been following my blog, you know without a doubt that I was nervous just short of the point of breaking out in hives. But on the long way there *hence my strong dislike of traffic* I prayed and I decided I’d do my best and do everything in my power to do well. I decided that I was going to go above and beyond and prove that I know what I’m doing. This training was about improving and creating ME. Help me to do well, I found myself praying, and grant me happiness with that confidence.

alone but happy

I arrived early at the training center and found a room filled with desks that made a half-circle. I found my name, cracked open the manual underneath it, and watched as one by one, a stream of new hires made their way in, each face reflecting my own nerves. Finally there was around twenty of us– new ties, ironed skirts, sweaty hands and all. And all I could remember at the back of my mind is during my interview when the manager told me that not everyone in the training group will make it. There are exams, assignments, verbal tests, and on-the-floor demonstrations that have to be mastered to a tee. It won’t be me who fails, I thought. It has to be one of them.

But then training took an odd turn. Instead of diving into the material, talking about the responsibilities, or taking us to individual work areas, the trainers divvied us up into groups and for the first handful of days we were taken back to elementary school in a sense. We had to come up with a team poster and cheer, we competed against other teams for poker chips that’d add up to a prize at the end of training, we went out to lunch and chatted about our lives and we played Catchphrase and team-building exercises that had us laughing so hard that each of us could swear by the end of it we’d found our best friends.

training group poster

Without even being asked we started to form a study group to help those in our group who were having a tough time with the material, and we all started to find more joy watching our teammates earn those poker chips than when our own selves did. By the end of the week during an on-the-floor test I wasn’t even nervous for my time up to bat. I was more nervous for one of my teammates who was struggling with a portion of it.

training group

And it happened without me even realizing it, I think. My original attitude of, “I’ve got this. I’m not going to be the one who fails” quickly turned into, “I want these people to succeed. I care about them.”

And I wasn’t alone. Our CEO must have known what this kind of training meant.

“The trick to being successful,” he told us, “is to surround yourself with good people, treat them well, and help them all to succeed. That’s the trick.”

My training grounds weren’t peculiar.

In a way that crowded room now filled with team posters, remnants of laughter, and fallen poker chips hidden under chairs was exactly what all of our lives are on a daily basis anyway. In life we can easily find where we’re supposed to sit or be, dive into what we need to know, ignore those beside us, and focus on getting it all right so we can succeed. But then there’s the other way. That’s the way that leads to friendship. That’s the way that leads to the focus on things outside of your personal bubble. That’s the way that leads to happiness.

encourage others

It’s not a revolutionary idea or breaking news to share *there’s my newsy side coming through* but it’s something we often forget I think. It’s something I forget every now and then since rising above and over-achieving has always been at the forefront of my mind.

The idea stems back to when Christ sat with a loaf of bread and a few fish amongst throngs of people. He was hungry–so he could have eaten. But he didn’t. In John 6 he demonstrates to us the power of thinking outside of ourselves when he multiplies the food and therefore gets even more satisfaction when everyone is well fed.

Old blessing

We need to multiply our loaves of bread more.

We go through life thinking our troubles are so great that we only have enough time for those problems, and no one else’s . We go through life thinking our financial burdens are so heavy that no way would we have time to alleviate someone else’s. We go through life thinking that the search for happiness is a personal one and helping others is just a bonus. In reality they go hand in hand and finding happiness has always been a group activity.

Careers can teach so many things. Luckily for me, my job started with a game of Catchphrase, fifty-five poker chips, and a lunch talking to someone who lost her dad the day after I lost mine.

Luckily for me, I didn’t find happiness here alone.

And I choose to keep it that way.

together happy

 

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  7 comments for “The personal search for happiness: And why there’s no such thing

  1. March 23, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Reblogged this on A Mom Looking Up.

  2. Jean Reid
    March 24, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Wow, Kayla – just Wow. With every post I am more impressed with your insights. Thank you so much for sharing this with the rest of us who are struggling.

  3. March 25, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Reblogged this on Pamperingcampers Blog and commented:
    The search for happiness is not a personal one…it’s a group activity

  4. March 25, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Love this! I’ve never reblogged until I read this and just had to. Keep writing!

  5. March 25, 2014 at 10:01 am

    This concept–the fallacy of the “zero sum”– has been rumbling through my mind a lot as well. In fact, it came up during our seminary lesson this morning: Christ allowing 2500 Nephites to come and touch his wounds individually. I bet there was no shoving, or cutting in line, saying, “My Turn!” Christ didn’t wear a watch and say, “Time’s up” every few minutes. Allowing others to experience, grow, learn, contributes to the group dynamic and the well-being of all. Thanks for being another voice on this subject for me.

  6. March 25, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Awesome! What a great day! The next step in such a terrific process will be to help those to success who can’t automatically embrace a social or interpersonal environment, like my son with Autism. When we’ve achieved that level of seeking happiness for others, we will have truly succeeded in life.

    Beautiful post, thank you!

  7. March 31, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Hi Kayla,

    I am an accidental arrival on your site…freshly blown in from afar, and no doubt attracted by the Lemon Yellow with its all its spring-like hew.

    I’ve had a wonderful 20 minutes taking a glimpse beneath the veil of your life. I feel a little more refreshed somehow for having done so, the disquiet in me pushed without objection to one side. I find your words lively, encouraging, unpretentious and wholly generous in spirit: they are no doubt a true reflection of you.

    As is customary, I leave a little ‘something’ as a gift for the experience of having been here, thank you…

    ‘Faith, Hope and Love are the most inspired of human virtues, but Friendship when freely given still remains the golden child of all three’

    Namaste.

    DN – 31/03/14

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