It’s a very simple question, and yet, most people tend to have a less-than-simple answer. In modern society, given all that we’ve achieved in making many aspects of our lives presumably easier or more convenient, it’s difficult to say that people are, on average, notably happier than at other points in human history.
One could potentially argue that we have an even more challenging time both becoming and remaining happy than ever before as many of our lives are built upon the ethos of struggling now in order to be potentially happy at some point in the future.
This is clearly absurd as we are not guaranteed any time at all but this very moment. It’s impossible to ignore the tragic irony that while our quality of life has seemingly improved, the quality of our living has been simultaneously deteriorating.
Such were the kinds of existential musings that began to preoccupy my time in the months leading up to the point when I began to write my first book, On The Way (itself a practical guide to cultivating sustainable happiness).
Ironically, although I’ve been a writer my entire life and had made multiple unsuccessful attempts at writing a book before, it was actually not my intention at this particular time to even do so.
As part of a sincere desire to make sense of one of the most challenging periods of my life, I began writing daily notes to myself that echoed all that I was thinking and feeling.
I did this in the hope that having an external mirror for my internal state, I would somehow be able to resolve my issues by becoming more consciously aware of how I was living my life and what was necessary for constructive and meaningful change. Looking back, I can honestly say that this entire experience was a perfect marriage of serendipity and fate, as it not only gifted me the inspiration that would ultimately lead to the publication of my first book, but would also be responsible for reshaping my entire life.
To give a bit of historical context, I graduated university with dual degrees in finance-related disciplines just shy of twenty years ago. Interestingly enough, I knew right at the moment I graduated that this was not the direction my life was supposed to take.
However, having committed so much in the way of time, energy and resources to my education, I felt powerless to slow down the train on which I was being carried away, let alone change its course altogether. It would be many years until I not only knew what to do with my life, but gained sufficient courage to do just that.
Fast forward to November of 2016, I had finally reached a point in my life where I was not only at a complete loss for what to from both a personal and professional perspective, but was becoming increasingly and almost inconsolably unhappy.
Although blessed with so many gifts and opportunities, as well as being incredibly ambitious, committed and doing all the “right” things, my life did not look anything like how I wanted it to look. A true blessing in disguise, this experience drove me to the point where I had no choice but to consciously, honestly and earnestly evaluate how I was living my life. As part of this journey of self-exploration, I began to question the very nature of happiness itself, as well as the ways in which we’ve been conditioned by society, to only define happiness but also seek it.
These themes would become the backbone of On The Way’s central thesis, namely, that if we wish to cultivate a present and sustainable experience of happiness, we must prioritize resonant behaviors in the present over desired outcomes in the future.
The only time we have is now and the only aspect of life that we have complete control over is what we do and don’t do. This profound shift of perspective is not only tremendously empowering, it is the only path to cultivating sustainable happiness.
At the time of this article’s release, On The Way has made its way (no pun intended) to over 12 countries around the world, all without the support of the traditional publishing mechanisms and with very little in the way of promotion beyond Instagram.
I attribute much of the book’s success thus far to not only its theme or content, but the spirit in which it was written…I was nothing short of compelled to bring On The Way to life. I truly believe that people somehow have a sense of that when they read it and deeply connect with that. In that vein, what the book underscores demonstratively is also what I believe to be the most meaningful and substantial guidance that I could offer aspiring writers, or really anyone finding their way through life.
That is, do only what you feel compelled to do. Regardless of what happens, you will not only be living honestly and authentically, you will continue to grow as a person and find your way toward becoming sustainably happy. When what we do is aligned with what we we are, literally anything is possible.
The alchemical mixture of inspiration, necessity, passion and personal connection is what is necessary to create truly important work that will meaningfully resonate with others. Even in an era undeniably saturated with content lacking any tangible substance, work that originates from the heart and carries with it the most noble of intentions will be recognized for what it is and ultimately celebrated.
-Steven Matthew Adams
About Steven –
Steven Adams is a highly-respected writer, speaker and wellness coach, based in NYC. His work is primarily focuses on helping others manifest holistic spiritual wellness through the accessible explanation and practical application of spiritual concepts. His revolutionary new book, On The Way, is fast-becoming a definitive disruption in the field, as it overturns the existing social conventions that not only define the experience of happiness, but also the ways in which we seek it.
This Article first appeared in Storizen Magazine’s June 2018 Issue. You can read the magazine here.