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August 29, 2020

Why we’re Choosing the Wrong Things when it comes to Happiness. 

I have a friend who is a surfer—surfing is his passion.

The man has a deep and resounding love for the ocean—he feels more connected to himself when he is chasing waves.

I think we can all relate to nature being as an elixir. The bliss he finds in the big blue yonder—where most fear wades—is something I have always envied.

He gets up every morning (or at least when “the waves are good”) at 4:00 a.m., while the rest of the world is still asleep in their warm beds.

Then he drives for 30 minutes to his favorite spot (if you know any surfers, you’d know they are tight-lipped about the best places), and he does a dawnie, which means a surf at sunrise.

It sounds legendary, doesn’t it? A board, a wave, and the first rays of a new dawn. He does this throughout the year, no matter the weather, as long as the waves are forecasted to be good.

We live in Cape Town, and these waters are the cold Atlantic, but the natural high he finds in that salt water is what brings him happiness. I believe in some way that it makes him feel part of the majesty of the universe and the space he occupies within it.

This is what we all chase: waves of wonder, gratitude, and humility leading to feelings of euphoric happiness.

We want to feel part of the whole and connected to ourselves and the world around us.

We usually ask ourselves the question, “What will bring me happiness?” Although it’s a good question, it’s the wrong one.

Happiness goes hand in hand with struggle and pain. When I asked my friend about his surfing, we had a long conversation about his love for it.

He told me, “Do you think I want to get up at 4:00 a.m.? No. I want to hit snooze like everyone else does and roll back over.” He continued, “The worst part is when you have to take your wet suit off after a surf in that icy water—you freeze to your core. I always need a hot shower when I walk through my front door.”

Then the questions is:

What am I willing to struggle for so I bring myself happiness?

We all want the outcome: a perfect body, a great relationship, good sex, a dream job, and wealth. However, we are often unaware of what all of these things require of us.

The perfect body takes a rigorous routine of working out and eating correctly. The best relationships are two people who suffer through rejections and emotional turbulence and still choose each other despite it all. The dream job is hours and hours of work and failures.

Our ability to sustain this struggle or endure this pain is what will lead us to the outcome we so desire. The negative is intricately linked to the positive, and this is where we often trip up.

We believe we want something, and the minute it gets a little harder than we thought it would, we give up on it.

What would happen if we changed our perception of suffering and pain? If we are consciously choosing what we are willing to suffer for, then in return, we reap the benefits of happiness. I think we would all be quite surprised to find that most of what we choose are things we don’t actually want.

Chase your waves of happiness, but know that you will do all it takes to ride them, because it’s what you truly want.

~

 

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