“Hey, I don’t have all the answers, in life, but to be honest, I’ve failed as much as I’ve succeeded, but I love my wife, I love my life, and I wish you my kind of success.” – Jerry Maguire, 1996.

Everyone wants happiness. Our nation’s top university students flock to courses in search for it. Before we can begin to draw a game-plan for  happiness, we must first identify its hindrances. What is stopping us from being happy?

We are constantly bombarded with messages on television, internet, billboards, etc. What values does our society tell us to strive after?

1. Money?

2. Fame?

3. Power?

4. Physical Beauty/Fashion?

5. Physical indulgence?

6. Athletic or academic achievement?

7. etc., etc., etc.,

The list goes on, but these are some of the more common points that I’ve heard.

What percentage actually achieve the dream? 10%? 20%? 5%?

Does that mean the majority of us are failures? (R YY Wenglin)

Aspirations are important, however, when the object of our happiness becomes acheiving an unlikely expectation, we set ourselves up for a destructive self-image. Our “failures,” “successes,” and life experiences can teach us to adjust our self image resulting in a more meaningful and stress free existence. However, sometimes people can sink into depression due to this failing to meet expected levels of achievement.

For example, most people run after money. Many even spend 90% of their precious awake hours pursuing more money. The sages of Israel enumerated thousands of years ago, “Who is rich? The one who celebrates what (s)he has!” This is just one of many examples of how Judaism taps into a timeless dimension to life which maximizes the meaning and pleasure of living. Imagine if people took their Judaism as seriously as their professions?

Action: A good first step to “hindrance-removal” is to take inventory. Call time out, and jot down a few expectations of yourself. Now, identify the source of expectations of yourself. (e.g. Environment? Teacher? Culture? etc.)