100 Ways To Live A Better Life – 82. Being Is Better Than Having

Too much and too often we measure our life’s fulfillment to the amount we possess. Fundamental mistake. If you’re doing it, stop it right now. You’re not what you’re having. Being is so much better than having.

Being in abundance does’t always equal a lot of money in the bank. Being happy doesn’t mean you own a beautiful house. Being joyful is not a matter of expensive clothes. As much as you would like to think the opposite.

Everything you own on this Earth is volatile. Even your body. But everything you do and everything you experience is unique. Sometimes you get so caught into securing your future existence that you’re no longer able to enjoy your current moment.

Everything you have is in fact in this second. You are more than you own. 

Having, Bargaining And Being

I experienced a lot of having my life. And my personal story with having is that it always ends bad. It always makes people unhappy. It always leaves them lonely, consumed and less happy than they used to be.

A few years ago – I guess 8 or 9 – I wanted very badly to have a certain type of a car. It was an SUV, and the power, the shape, the social status that it implied were all things that literally made me shiver.

So, I did whatever was in my power to have that car. I put a wallpaper on my desktop, so the thing that I was seeing, each and every day, each and every minute, actually, was that car. It was right there, in front of my eyes, unavoidable. I literally started to blend in with it even before I got it.

And it worked. In a couple of years I got that car. To my surprise, having it, driving it every day, getting in and out of it, well, none of these changed my life. Having that car didn’t make my life better. As a matter of fact, in the beginning, it made it a little worse, because I wasn’t prepared to drive such a big car. It took me a few weeks until I became comfortable with it. It’s quite a shift to go from a sedan to an SUV, especially in a city where driving is considered to be more dangerous than traveling to an official war zone.

After the adaptation period, I started to feel good about that car, though. It still didn’t change anything in my life – as I wasn’t happier than before – but I felt good. (It took me a few years to understand that it wasn’t the car per se that was giving me this sensation, but the achievement. The pleasure was derived from reaching the goal, not from the object.) Still, that pleasure was nice to feel.

After a few months, maybe a year, it became something normal. Driving an expensive and powerful SUV was just part of my daily routine. The rain was still rain, the heat was still heat, the world was going around just the same. The car eventually blended in. It didn’t generate anything by itself. It was just there.

A few years later, after the crisis hit, I sold it. For a fraction of its initial price. I was happy I was able to sell it, and I really looked forward to get rid of it.

Strange, right?

Compared with the initial thrill, the anxiety to get rid of that jewel was quite surprising. Yet, that’s how it really happened. I really looked forward to unglue myself from that SUV.

This is happening with everything we own. As a man much wiser than me once said: “Everything you own ends up owning you.”. When we project our future happiness to something that we need to have, we’re depriving ourselves from what we may have right now. We’re playing the roulette, in a way. We’re hoping it will be ok, when we’ll have that thing.

And when we do get it, we take some temporary pleasure from reaching that goal, a little bit of volatile satisfaction, and then the thing becomes part of our daily routine. We may not even notice it. It’s blended in.

And then we start the circle again: we put our focus on a bigger car, on a bigger house, or, and that’s something a millionfold more dangerous, on a much desirable person (more beautiful, with more money, etc). We start bargaining again our present, for an unsure future, hoping that having something will make us happy.

That’s the mindset of having.

On the other side, when you are, when you’re focusing on being, you’re simply there. You’re simply happy, or sad, or tired, or hopeful, or joyful. You don’t need any external source to reinforce your state. You may still enjoy anything that comes to you – and I remember quite a few enjoyable things I had the pleasure to play with for a while – but you’re not attached to them, and you’re not creating a happiness equation involving them.

In fact, you’re not creating any happiness equation at all. You don’t feel like you need to have something in order to be happy. You don’t feel like you’re missing something.

There’s no bargaining involved, because there’s nothing to be bargained for.

Everything you need, is to be alive.

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