Continuing with sharing my lessons from reading “The Five Thieves of Happiness” by Dr. John Izzo.
Last week, I covered the thief of control. Today, I talk about the second thief of happiness: conceit.
Hispanic have a saying for individuals who obsess about themselves and their importance to the world. We say…
They think they are the last coca-cola in the desert.
I bet you know someone that fit the mold.
In the book, Dr. Izzo enhances the use of the word by attaching it to a belief. Paraphrasing his words, he states conceit is an obsession about our own little story driven by a belief that we are separate from others and that the only path to happiness is by differentiating ourselves through the appearance of being important.
In concise form: we seek happiness by justifying our worthiness and importance to the world.
The quest to be important
I can’t recall specific instances in which I spent my days showing off how importance I was to the world but do remember many instances in which I felt the need to prove my worthiness. I did it by:
- Communicating how much I knew about a certain subject.
- Trying to prove how my expertise stipulate my opinion is what counts.
- Having philosophical arguments about complicated subjects.
- Calling out the many times I helped other people succeed.
- Bragging about the long hours at work.
In essence, I was looking for people to recognize that I was unique and valuable to the company. In the pursuit of being important, I ended up alienating those around me and feeling alone against the world.
What can I give the world today?
Dr. Izzo suggest that best way to counteract the focus on our own little story is to create a habit of serving others.
You can probably guess why this is a viable solution. Do you feel good when you help others? How does this behavior change your relationship with them? How important do you become?
My experience has taught me that while my talents aren’t meant to help everyone around me, they do give me a sense purpose and worth in the world. Isn’t that what we are all searching for?
How does conceit show up in your life?