Byron's Babbles

What Do You Look Forward To?

Posted in Global Leadership, Happiness, Leadership, Leadership Development, Passion, Purpose by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on March 3, 2021

While reading Rules Of Civility by Amor Towles, I was struck by this comment made speaking of her father by the character, Katey Kontent: “Whatever setbacks he had faced in his life, he said, however daunting or dispiriting the unfolding of events, he always knew that he would make it through, as long as when he woke in the morning he was looking forward to his first cup of coffee. Only decades later would I realize that he had been giving me a piece of advice.” This got me to thinking about how today many people don’t seem to be driven by purpose and passion like in the past. They also don’t seem happy. We’ve always been taught that purpose and passion bring happiness and the desire to get out of bed each morning. What if it takes more than purpose and passion for happiness? What if there is more to it?

According to Kieran Setiya, in Midlife: A Philosophical Guide, it also takes looking past our own happiness to “something else.” John Stuart Mill, the famous nineteenth century British philosopher, realized that people who are happy always have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness. “Aiming thus at something else.” Setiya taught us that “The “something else” that you aim at can be any kind of hobby, interest, or pursuit – like watching baseball, cooking, or collecting stamps. All that matters is that it interests you.” It could also be as simple as looking forward, as Katey’s dad from Rules of Civility looking forward each day to his first cup of coffee. Or, Katey’s looking forward to reading each day.

Mill also realized that chasing his passion of changing the world through social reform had caused him to not recognize many of life’s pleasures that had nothing to do with solving problems. Happiness means learning from Katey Kontent and valuing the aspects of life that don’t involve problems and solutions. For you, as it did for Katey, that might mean reading. Or, it may mean that cup of coffee and newspaper each morning. For me, this has reminded me how important my trip to the barn every morning and evening is to my day. Spending time caring for the animals brings happiness to my day – every day. Setiya reminded us that “What matters is making time for passions that involve more than addressing life’s misfortunes.” What are the things that make you happy and keep you excited to get out of bed each morning?

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] I had blog posts that were inspired by Rules of Civility – Visions & Revisions and What Do You Look Forward To?. This book brilliantly took the reader back to Manhattan in 1938, where authentic, human characters […]

    Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: