© 2018 by Conan Zhao

Search

It's not about the million dollars. It's about the Wonder

Updated: Jul 27, 2019




Do you ever feel that you’re falling behind on the happiness curve?


I do.


The internet has a different definition for what a happiness curve is. The internet is fake news. What I’m about to describe to you is something different, and I’m calling it the happiness curve because I’m not the most creative type (ha!) and I don’t want to bother with coming up something of my own. I want to talk about the phenomenon of feeling that you never have, or have done, enough to feel satisfied and happy.


We’ve all gone through that mental negotiation before, more popularly known as the 3rd stage of depression:

when I make that six-figure salary, I’ll finally be happy;

when I have saved up enough to buy the Nimbus 2000, I’ll finally be happy;

when I get a girlfriend, I’ll finally be happy…etc.


You all know what happens next. As soon as you have accomplished that, your measuring stick of happiness also moves forward, and you’re back to chasing it again.

I’m rich now but not enough buy a yacht;

I have the Nimbus 2000 but they just released the Firebolt;

I have a girlfriend but now I want to break up with her…etc.

There’s ALWAYS something else to aim for, but your happiness level is just stagnant, because you keep giving yourself an excuse to be unhappy.


Act 2


There’s that fancy “It’s about the journey, not the destination”. I never really liked that phrase. It sounds cliché, way over-said, and it’s just vague enough that it never makes me feel any better hearing it, only annoyed by whoever’s next trying to sneak it into their next pop song. Lazy song writing is what I like to call it. It’s been said so much that it has lost its “shock value”.


What then? Well, everybody wants to be a millionaire something, right? (Unless you’re a billionaire, in which case I presume you are not all that excited about a pay-cut and thank you for spending your $999,999/min-precious time reading my blog.) A millionaire banker, a millionaire florist, a millionaire homeless person…etc. (You laugh at the last one, but I hear they have them in San Francisco) Well for me, I shamelessly dream about becoming a millionaire artist someday. It’s a grounded fantasy, not realistic but not totally out of the realm of possibilities; not a measurement of accomplishment but nevertheless within the far peripherals of my ambition. It’s a dream, but it’s important to have one. Why? Because


It’s our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

---Dumbledore

Dumbledore thinks that way, and he eventually becomes the greatest wiz…oh right, he becomes dead. Um… let me try a different example.


I want you to remember that one time when you trained very hard for a marathon. You woke up early every morning to chug down that glass of raw egg yolk, because Buzzfeed says Salmonella makes you stronger; you ran all the way up to the peak of the Himalayans in your sweatpants just in time for sunrise; you hung tough, and you stayed hungry; you did your time and took your chances. On the day of the marathon, you realized that true triumph was never about reaching the finish line, it was choosing to believe you can finish it, and you trained hard like you believed in it. You see, in light of that, you had already won, with the buckets of sweat with which you washed the American flag; with the pair of worn-out shoes in which you trod a path of star-spangled destiny; with the proud victory cap, the feathers in which you plucked from the tail of a bald… wait, where am I going with this…? (Not a rhetorical question) I’m trying really hard to tie this back to the title somehow.


Oh yeah…Nor was it about the journey. Because let’s face it, what normal person gets excited by the idea of running?


It was about discovering the person you didn’t know that you had the potential to be, and wondering what more you can be.


Five years ago I never dared to think that I could come up with the courage to quit the corporate job that I had committed so much to.

Five years ago I never thought I’d get into dancing and teach it.

Five years ago I never thought I’d ever afford to own a home. I have two now.


Man, if I can do all that, I wonder what else I can do!


Today, I wonder if I can ever making a living as a full-time artist. I wonder if I can really have a shot at becoming a millionaire artist.


Dream, and dream big, because it’s not about the million dollars. It’s about the wonder.



Special thanks for my friend and coach Dave Gerber who inspired this blob.

63 views