Stop looking outside yourself for validation

Tavis Smiley : Trying to get to that place of peace, for lack of a better word, where you are with the purpose and the reason for your existence… People struggle with that every day.

Alan Arkin : Well, the only thing I can say, it sounds like a cliche, but I mean it from the bottom of my heart, is stop looking outside yourself for your substantiation. That most people look for if I get this, if I have this, if I get this award, if I get this job, if I get that woman, if I get something, it’s gonna make me happy and I’ll be able to relax.

If you’re in the mode to start looking for stuff outside yourself to substantiate your existence, it’s not going to work. I’m absolutely positive about that. It can’t be done. It can be done for short bursts of time. To paraphrase – who said it? “Money does bring you happiness, but only for ten minute increments.”

Tavis: To your point – if you want to be happy for a year, win the lottery. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, learn to love what you do.

Arkin: Who you are. Learn to love who you are.

[From the Tavis Smiley Show transcript.]

Photo: Arkin accepts a 2007 Spirit Award for his role in Little Miss Sunshine. He also won an Oscar.

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