Pursuit of Happiness

Maybe you are wondering why my last post had to do with happiness. Maybe you are not wondering that. Either way, I would like to explain a little bit about why happiness is a topic that I will probably address in my Life Coaching section often.

My freshmen year of college, I had a philosophy professor who blew my mind. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in such a positive way. I am fairly certain he was stoned at least half the time he was “professing” (for lack of a better term). That’s fine, to each their own. But it led to some thoughts and concepts that I think my 18 year old mind was not quite ready to deal with. For instance, his main theme was to talk about our purpose in life. What I learned from him: ultimately, we are all working towards happiness. That is everyone’s ultimate goal. So, no matter what you do for someone else it is still doing something for yourself in order to reach your own happiness. For example, when you do a volunteer project such as building houses for Habitat for Humanity, it isn’t selfless. It’s still selfish because ultimately you’re doing it to feel better about yourself.

This didn’t sit right with me.

First of all, I don’t want to feel bad about myself for doing good things for others. There is something completely different between me volunteering at a soup kitchen and me sabotaging somebody else’s career in order to climb up the career ladder myself. Those are both selfish? You have to be kidding me.

Second, everybody has a right to happiness. Nobody should feel bad about seeking happiness. With that being said, I hope that you all try to seek happiness in the healthiest ways possibly, physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and socially.

I am off my soapbox now. 

Now I pose this question to you:

What would make you happy? Unfortunately, I think that a lot of people’s answers would be among the following:

  • If I could lose 10 pounds.
  • If I could find the perfect man.
  • If I got that promotion next month.
  • If I could afford those shoes.

I don’t blame you. I’ve been there. I still sometimes go to that place. But I highly suggest that if you often find yourself in that place, you take a step back and reevaluate. My work friends and I recently talked about a concept called diminishing returns. This is a term that is typically applied to economics, but the basic concept can extend to almost all situations. Today, I am talking about the diminishing returns effect on happiness. When you cite certain things as your source of happiness (weight loss, the perfect man, money, shoes, etc.) eventually, that source will provide you with less and less happiness. My friend Amanda said to me today that the first bite of food you love or crave is always the best…no bite can match up to the first bite after that. That’s diminishing returns…each bite provides you with less and less happiness than the bite before.

Bottom line: the only source of happiness should be yourself. Happiness is a state of mind, a decision from within, not something you should seek from an external source.

Can you rise to the challenge? Can you decide to be a happy person despite your circumstances? I believe you can, now you just have to believe that you can.

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7 thoughts on “Pursuit of Happiness

  1. When you do good deeds to feel good, don’t let that make you feel bad. Just don’t get too upset when those you help don’t thank you. Besides, you good deeds can possibly have bad outcomes. So there is no reason to feel bad right?

    Oh, and don’t be too happy despite your circumstances – you’ll be branded a weirdo

    • Thanks for the comment! I agree not to be too happy despite the circumstances. I think what I am trying to get at is that your general demeanor can be happy no matter your job, salary, location, weight, etc. You can be an overall happy person and still be allowed to be sad or depressed sometimes. Does that make sense?

  2. I think I can rise to the challenge. Although I wouldn’t complain if I lost 10lbs or got my dream job…but it’s the little things in life that make me happiest. The smell of fresh rain, sunsets, baby giggles, etc.

    And I have to disagree with Amanda – I think the best bite of a meal is the last one…I always make sure I save the best one for last. To each their own 🙂

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