Warning: This On-Purpose Minute blog post has a sting. Proceed with caution.
We live in the entertainment economy. We’re so immersed in it that we’re like fish who don’t realize they’re swimming in water.
For example, the February 1 NFL Super Bowl XLIX drew an estimated 114.4 million viewers. Admittedly, I was one of them taking in the game, commercials, and halftime. Pro football is my sports distraction of choice along with suspense thrilling movies and TV shows.
I know these next two paragraphs will be controversial, but here goes anyway. When halftime performer Katy Perry rode out on a giant golden lion, Moses came to my mind. Remember Moses (Exodus 32) coming down the mountain with the 10 Commandments and seeing the people with a golden calf. Despite being delivered from Egypt, led through the Red Sea, and fed with manna from heaven, the people were easily distracted with images of gold.
Now compare tens of thousands in a packed stadium cheering and the millions of us at homes and parties who were glued to the TV in utter fascination as this tiny singer decked in flames entered the arena strapped atop the golden king of the jungle. And we wonder why the Jihadists call us the Great Satan. Seen through their eyes and without context, we look like worshipers of false gods “deserving” of punishment. The difference of course was that God didn’t smite the Israelites, but thanks to Moses’ intervention they received mercy and grace, not murder and mayhem.
I share my disturbing vision to shock you out of the depth of the “entertainment immersion” to invite you to breathe the fresh air of a life lived more thoughtfully and fully alive. Think of this message as CPR for the soul.
Be sure to invest yourself in the matters of life that matter the most. Go more deeply into the discovery of knowing who you are, how you were designed, and the difference your life can make in the world of the “happily distracted” who are filled but unfulfilled.
Distractions abound in an ADHD-paced schedule and life. Distractions prevent us from getting to clarity and building lives of maturity, depth, and greater contribution. When distractions become our way of life, the way of our life is passing us by.
How many times have you said, “I just want to be happy”? Perhaps you’ve said it about your children, too. To be happy is certainly a worthy emotional state.
Image via Wikipedia
Dare I ask …
Is happiness the true gold standard for the ideal emotional state?
Can we always be happy?
Are we entitled to happiness?
Yes, I believe in the book title from the Minirth Meier New Life Clinic, Happiness is a Choice. I’m happy to be happy!
Perhaps my age is showing with my questions (and answer). Hopefully, I’m not a cynic, but a keen observer of the human condition. The “pursuit of happiness” as we understand and apply it in the 21st Century may actually not be in our long-term best interest. Too often the pursuit of happiness is the unhealthy avoidance of reality. Denial and distraction are a dangerous one-two combination that take us down an unhealthy path of avoidance.
Happiness, for all its good as it is in use today, is a fleeting, temporary, or surface emotion. Happiness is circumstantial and has the effect of drug tolerance. What it takes to makes us happy tends to get ramped up over time. We need more and bigger to satisfy our happiness quotient.
The more enduring emotions are love, joy, and peace because they are attitudes of choice, not circumstances. The matter becomes, not what can I do to be happy but can I be at peace regardless of my circumstances.
Viktor Frankl in his book Man’s Search For Meaning profoundly observed that those who survived in Nazi prison camps had a compelling reason and will to live. In essence, they made peace with their circumstances and captors. They lived until another day because they had a purpose, a reason for being.
Pursuing your purpose (instead of happiness) opens the back door to the prosperous and joyful life of being more at peace. Get off the “happy drug” of distractions. Stop paying the high price of avoiding being the true you.