Thursday, September 6, 2007

Happiness is not a math problem

People smarter than I am say that happiness can be quantified as a ratio of expectation to reality--that is, what you expect to happen divided by what actually happens. By that definition, I am not happy.

I expected that I would be working by now. I expected to come to Austin and fit in pretty seamlessly with a counseling group. I expected that the people I wanted to work with would want me to work with them. I expected that my denomination would be happy to have me. I expected that I would work with sharp people in a quality organization. I expected to be moving forward today, not backward. I expected that it would be easy.

I can see now that some of my expectations were grandiose and others were unrealistic. Some were reasonable, though, even though they aren't being met.

Now I have to figure out what I want, given the reality of my options. I need to lean into the creative tension in this gap between my desired outcome and my current reality and let it work for me. Ask God to give me wisdom.


KC said...

While I could easily rant about people in power not being able to recognize the greatness that is you and hiring you immediately for the absolute perfect job for you, I will instead say that some people (smarter than I) also say that we are at our most creative at the edge of chaos. Here's hoping that your current chaos and all those prayers for wisdom will ignite in you creative options that you might have never considered previously!!!

Electric Monk said...

Of course, if college-level calculus taught me anything, it's that the converse applies as well: math isn't happiness.

Seriously, I hope the job search goes better. Any organization should count their blessings just to have the CHANCE to hire you!

Rob said...

The ratio of expectation to reality sounds like a pretty good definition of happiness to me. When we don't get what we think we deserve, we're unhappy. Given that I agree with the definition, your post leaves me with a dilemma. I've sampled only a sprinkling of posts on your blog and I don't think you sound like an unhappy person!

Most of us need to have a bit of a gap between what we want and what we have. If they're the same, then we have no reason to do anything. We don't actually expect to have everything we want. We're like Paul, pressing on towards the goal...and we're happy!

You're in the smarter-than-I-am group already because you have a "desired outcome" in mind. I'm still back trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up!

T said...

Hi, Rob--Welcome! I enjoyed taking a look at your blog and will definitely visit again.

Electric Monk said...

ROB! Fancy the two of us meeting on the same blog... What are the chances?

Rob said...

T, thanks for the kind words. As you know this blogging requires some discipline. That's something that is somewhat lacking in my character. I'm inspired by folks who can keep at it!

eMonk... I'm simply following the breadcrumb trail to see if I can get home. I think you were a bit harsh on calculus. As one of Robert A. Heinlein's characters said, "Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house."