“The more we focus on our own personal happiness, the more it eludes us. In fact, it’s only when we’re otherwise engaged, you know; focused, absorbed, inspired, communicating, discovering, learning, dancing for heavens’ sake – that we experience happiness as a by-product, a side effect. Oh no, we should concern ourselves not so much with the pursuit of happiness, but with the happiness of pursuit.” – Hector and The Search For Happiness
I’m not chasing happiness. That doesn’t make sense. Happiness supposedly comes from within.
Whilst I agree, I also think circumstance and context do factor in. For example, I’m someone who likes the coast and sun. So in cold hidden away cities I may not be as happy with my pursuit. That said, this doesn’t make me unhappy, at all, not everything is going to take you to the peak of ecstasy. For that you go to nightclubs and talk to that dodgy looking guy with big pupils and enough sweat to fill a pool… I joke, I joke.
Trying to get your head around being unhappy, sad or depressed is not easy! I’ve struggled with balancing my emotions for a very long time, on and off – maybe I’m just normal? Even now as I sit on this plane thinking… why the hell did I just rush through Hong Kong to get to Australia, I’m not pursuing Australia, I’m traveling. I tunnel-visioned myself all the way there, rather than slowing down, opening my eyes and taking time to appreciate the opportunity. I rushed through it as if getting to Australia quicker would somehow make me happier. Sometimes a chill pill is needed to remind me, it’s the journey that matters, not the destination.
Which leads onto my next, yet, same, point…
This too goes for other aspects of life. Over-thinking can come about when one is concerned or in some form worried about the outcome of an event. Rather, one should simply accept and enjoy the journey itself – for all it’s worth, positive and negative.
I should find happiness in the pursuit rather than the end result.
Use goals, but don’t rely on them
Many people advise others to use goals to improve their life; and I agree. However, it’s to measure your success – not create it, that’s coming from you, inside – not the date on the goal set! Remember, when a goal is achieved, you have a short term hormonal burst of happiness. Dopamine floods through your body and you feel invincible; this is not sustainable and doesn’t last. Tackling life this way, you’ll never reach a sustainable level of reasonable happiness. Because whether you succeed or fail, once the outcome is reached, the goal posts have already moved.
“It’s all wretch and no vomit, it never get’s there.” – Alan Watts
Right? You want to be X weight by Y date. Z amount of time later you reach it. You are happy, briefly. Then, X is no longer good enough, you want more. The process starts again and you wait Z time to be happy again.
Goals are great, and they work. However, sorry to say, you need more. The actual journey itself is equally, if not much more important than reaching the goal itself. It’s where you progress and learn, fail or not.
Unless of course, we’re all here to accept a happy and healthy state of mind is only achieved in short, far and few between occurrences? Nooooo thank you, I don’t.
Learn from your two year old, he’s teaching you a valuable lesson
You know those videos on YouTube of toddlers trying to pick up a ball? You know, they walk over, bend down to pick it up to shockingly find they’ve kicked it away accidentally, haha. So again, the poor kid runs over and just as he’s about to win, score and succeed, the ball has moved again. Gutted.
We seem to believe happiness is the ball. And we as adults are the ones…
A) Chasing it and
B) Kicking it away
Why is it we are silly enough to think the ball can be picked up, come on we aren’t two years old anymore. Are we?
Actually, maybe not far off. Whilst so many are studying and gradually coming closer to formulae for happiness. I’d take a wild guess and assume at least 99% of the worlds’ population are still ill-educated in understanding what makes you happy and how to live a fulfilling life. In this context, actually, we’re probably younger than two. We all need to learn and be better educated in this area, a happiness 101 for schools maybe.
Since we’ve clearly failed, on mass, to figure out how to pick the ball up (grab happiness for those of you falling behind). Well, to that I say…
Let’s not concern ourselves with the pursuit of happiness. Rather, let’s be happy with the pursuit. Together, we can enjoy the walk. And maybe that little ball of happiness will stick around.