A lot of people make a mistake in the search for happiness.
It’s that a lot of people are searching for happiness.
At least that’s what Steve Assarian thinks. He has some pretty good points to make you believe it as well.
“If you focus on being happy, you’ll be miserable,” Assarian said. “Happiness is not a good goal.”
He said a lot of times, you have to fight through misery to get to something that truly makes you happy; most happiness comes from accomplishing something that takes time to get to.
And that doesn’t mean money, either. He did say money makes things easier, even being miserable.
But how he came to be a librarian is neat. He said his parents had a lot to do with it.
“My family is really great at understanding happiness,” he said. “It’s not about following your dreams or your passion, but follow what you’re good at. If you’re good at it, you’ll be successful and if you’re successful, you’ll be happy.”
Well, that contradicts just about everything people have told me along the way so far — although, I suppose many people are good at their passions for that reason.
He went through a year writing a thesis, and he said it was the most miserable year of his life. But he was working at as a librarian and realized, it’s a pretty cool job.
So he told his parents he wanted to be a librarian.
“I like standing in front of people, I like teaching,” he said. “I’m great at not being good at things.”
But what he is good at is talking about how to be good at life. He recently did a TEDx talk about “Punching in.”
In life you have to punch in, and punch out. It’s a really interesting way of looking at life in general. You punch in at birth and clock out at death. You punch in when you wake up and punch out when you go to sleep. But the philosophy he takes on the subject has to do with getting things done.
You can’t just sit down and write a book in one sitting. Most writers are successful because they write everyday, and people see the end product and say, “Wow.”
Assarian said a lot of people miss the point of things. They see two levels, novice and master. They miss the in-between.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote in Outliers that it takes 10,000 hours to master something. That’s a lot of time, and you can’t obtain it all in one sitting. It takes a lot of chipping off.
“If you think you’ll never be a master, why do it?” he said. “There’s a lot you can do between 0 and 10,000 hours. Things are possible, you just have to bite off small chunks.”
When he was a kid, he wanted to be a comic book artist, but he’s not a master artist. So he just continued it as a hobby.
“Now I can draw above a level that most people can,” he said. “I can’t do it for a living, but it’s still fun.”
He’s on a journey to produce things in life. Many just want to find themselves.
But there’s a flaw in that thinking.
“We are what we do; we are what we produce,” he said. “If you’re goal is to discover yourself, you’re missing out on your potential. You’re not using you’re skills and talents.
“I guess it’s a hopeful way of looking at the world. But I have the ability to punch in. What did I do today to become what I want to be tomorrow?”
He also said you need someone to admire. Surround yourselves with friends you admire.
“If you don’t have something to strive for, then you leave a lot on the table,” he said.
But what made me happy was his last quote, which he quoted from a comic, “Subnormality.”
I asked him what he wants to be able to say when looking back on life on his death bed.
“I understood some of that.”