Repost: Why Happiness is So Hard to Find
In this episode, we look at why happiness is such a difficult thing to find in our lives.
Happiness is one of those things that is constantly out of our grasp. We all chase it, at least to some extent. But quickly realize that the more you chase it, the less likely you are to find it.
In the U.S. there is a cultural obsession with happiness. It’s treated like a product that can be sold. Download this app, try this pill, drink this supplement, listen to this music. At the core of this industry is a universal truth…
Everyone wants happiness, but no one knows how to get it.
The term Happy is defined as “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment”. Happiness therefore is the state of feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
I think this is part of where the problem starts. By viewing happiness as a state to enter or exit. We create the expectation that it’s something we can attain. Happiness is just around the corner if we just solve for it the way we would a math problem. 2X + Y = Happy...all we have to do is figure out what X and Y stand for and blamo...we’re happy right?
Well, I don’t need to tell you how wrong that is. You’ve probably experienced it for yourself.
Well there are a few things we need to change in order to capitalize on this powerful ability and actually experience more happiness as a result.
- We need to change our language around happiness. It’s not a state of being. It’s not something we can enter and leave if we just work hard enough. Happiness exists in a moment. It’s fleeting. In many ways, joy is a better word to use. Happiness is something we get to experience for the brief moment in between something good happening, and our Hedonic Adaptation kicking in. This is why improving your ability to be in the moment and be present is a critical step to experiencing happiness. Without that ability, you’ll miss all of those little moments where happiness is waiting for you.
- We need to stop making decisions based around what will make us happy. Again, happiness is not a state of being. It’s the fleeting moments. We experience happiness and joy as we do precisely because it goes away. The moment we adapt to it, it’s gone, but the contrast between the two states makes it clear what just happened. With that said, making decisions based on what will make us happy doesn’t make any sense. Because all decisions that have positive outcomes will make us happy in the moment and will become normal afterwards. That’s how things work. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t pursue passions or choose paths that are good for us. What I’m saying is that whether or not this decision will lead to happiness is the last thing you should be considering.
- Finally, and I touched on this in the first point, we need to improve our ability to be present and experience those fleeting moments. Happiness exists for a brief period of time. Our ability to experience it comes down to whether or not we can be present enough for that time. By meditating, journaling, doing yoga, practicing gratitude, or any other tool to improve our focus and presence we will also allow ourselves to experience more happiness in our lives. Not because there is any new happiness to be found, but because we can experience the happiness that is already there.
This episode is sponsored by
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