Happiness is a relatively simple concept.
In fact, we already know what makes us happy. Yet still, it is easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of a consumerist society. All day, every day, we are bombarded with messages that tell us what it means, and how it looks, to be happy.
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, to buy sh!t we don’t need.” ~ Fight Club
We are constantly surrounded by happy plastic people. We see celebrities living in mansions, driving fancy cars, flying to exotic islands and enjoying lives of luxury and we can’t help but want what they have—after all, look at how happy they seem. So, we work longer and harder, trying to hit our monthly targets, hoping to get closer to that shiny cash bonus. Sometime we succeed and sometime we fail. In either case, we still try to buy our happiness—even if that means using a little credit.
“We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.” ~ Chuck Paulinak
We confuse want with need, filling our lives with stuff, not realizing that it does little to aid in our pursuit of happiness. All of this stuff ends up suffocating us. We assign such importance to our possessions that we give them names. “My car’s name is Sally, by the way.” We work so much that we don’t have time to play with our expensive toys, which makes us feel guilty for neglecting them.
“The things you own, end up owning you.” ~ Tyler Durden
We know where to look to find real happiness, but pleasure is always closer. We forget that the two are not the same because they both feel nice. But while pleasure may arrive the quickest, it is also the quickest to leave. If we spend all of our time seeking pleasure, we are left with no time to experience happiness. This is why we feel so empty.
“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.” ~ George Carlin
So, maybe it is time to stop, take a minute and reassess what is really important. Maybe it’s time to practice a little gratitude.
“Once I cried because I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet.” ~ Wally Lamb
Happiness is not an investment we make, it’s a seed we plant. It may take time to grow, but when it does, we enjoy a lifetime living in its comforting shade.
“If you want happiness for an hour—take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day—go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year—inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime—help someone else.” ~ Chinese Proverb
Happiness is not a pursuit or a destination. Viewing it as such practically guarantees that you will never experience its beauty. The more you strive for happiness, the further away it gets.
“Happiness is like an orgasm. If you think about it too much it goes away.” ~ Tim Minchin
For centuries, the same things have been both the greatest sources and the greatest causes of happiness. None of these things are about attaining status, possessions or recognition. They are almost always about others.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~ Dalai Lama
Happiness has only a few components. In this case, the greatest ancient philosophers and the smartest modern day scientists all agree—to be happy we need to focus less on ourselves and more on others. We need to be social, selfless and charitable.
“The difference between people that are happy and those that are not is that they are extremely social. Each is in a romantic relationship and each has a rich repertoire of friends.” ~ Professor Martin Seligman
By spending more time on our relationships we experience more happiness. If we add a little altruism to the mix, we are well on our way to understanding and experiencing long lasting, blissful happiness. So, today, let’s all do just one thing that is purely for the benefit of someone else and see what happens.
“Happiness is like jam—you can’t spread even a little without getting some on you.” ~ Author Unknown
Author: Garrick Transell
Editor: Alli Sarazen