People are seekers. We seek each other to make a family, a home to live in, employment to pay our bills, and hobbies to feed our soul. In essence, we seek to survive and be happy. As we grow, we often discover that the things that we seek change, thus “moving the cheese”, and continuing the search for what makes us feel whole.
It is easy, amidst this search, to attribute our happiness to things that are easily acquired: the newest phone or computer, a dress off the runway, or a new car. If there is one thing we should have learned by now, though, it is that there is always the next new thing! The cheese always moves when we make it something that can be updated for the exclusive purpose of making us give our money to someone else. Is our soul really soothed when we acquire that new thing? Usually not.
Happiness usually comes from something deeper and more directly connected to our individual essence. We do love different things that can be acquired, but it is the object itself which turns us on, not always the acquisition. For example, for the lover of new smart phones, the multi-function purpose of the phone is what’s so appealing. Anyone with a smart phone can complete a number of functions with one device, anywhere within the server’s network! It is amazing, and it is the function that we love. Will the next model perform that much more? For some, perhaps it will make a discernible difference, but not for most. How can the smart phone collector continue to feed the soul with this fascination? He or she could do it by, among other things, learning the upcoming technology, working for a company that produces new technology, or writing about phone technology. For car enthusiasts there are conventions and written material to read, for fashion divas there are TV shows, magazines, and limited purchases. These, at least, are ways of exercising the passion while knowing that the cheese won’t move. The first step for us seekers, then, is to find a way to prevent our passion from becoming about chasing the newest thing.
Another way to seek the passion is to let it reward us. It is so easy for us to immerse ourselves in our passions, especially when it is on our own personal screen! Computer games, internet research, social networking, and other activities on our portable electronics are so easy to do all the time. But if we do it all the time, what happens to connecting to people we like and love? I have sat at meals with both friends and family when one or more person does something like immediately snapping a photo, posting onto Facebook about it, and responding to comments. This connects the person with people who aren’t there, but is it necessary? Is that connection, slight as it is, worth ignoring the people who are sharing the meal? It might be easy to think that it is, until someone else is doing it. Rather than exercising our passions to excess, we could be rewarded by our passions. A person sharing the meal could snap a photo of the food, interact with those sharing the meal, and then, when there is a quiet and less social moment, share the photo of the meal. As long as Facebook exists, the audience is not going to leave the site before that photo gets posted. The food will look just as delicious later as it does when it is being eaten. This way, life is fuller, every moment is savored in its turn. We are rewarded for savoring another worthwhile moment.
Finally, a good way to seek the passion is to share it. We know this one pretty well, as our spouses and friends usually share some common interest. It comes naturally! It is also fun to share more widely, because we never know when someone new might share the passion with us. At the same time, we can expand our horizons, letting someone with passions different than our own, share theirs with us at least once. Would it really be so tough to zip line with the father, swim with the ambitious child, or talk a little about new phone technology? When we are all sharing the passion, we are also fulfilling the need to connect with others.
The secret to being happy is to feed our souls in a way that doesn’t move the cheese, rule our lives, and leave us alone. We will always be seeking, but if we obtain a piece of what we seek throughout our lives, we will be happier.