| Sent Wednesday 13th of December
Ever felt like the more you chase after happiness, the faster it runs away? You’re not alone. This intriguing dilemma, known as the ‘Happiness Paradox,’ reveals a lot about our quest for joy and contentment.
Unravelling the Happiness Paradox
The happiness paradox is this peculiar phenomenon where our intense pursuit of happiness can lead us down a path of dissatisfaction and, ironically, unhappiness. Why does this happen? It seems that our societal benchmarks for happiness – material success, personal achievements – might not really be the tickets to true joy we thought they were.
The Problem with Chasing Happiness
The issue lies in constantly postponing happiness until we reach a certain milestone – a better job, a bigger house, the perfect relationship, whatever the goal is…
This mindset can create a perpetual state of dissatisfaction.
Insight from Research
Digging deeper, studies have found a startling insight: chasing extrinsic goals (like fame, wealth, achievements) as a path to happiness often leads to more negative emotions. In contrast, those who focus on intrinsic goals such as personal growth and community connection experience greater emotional fulfillment.
Wisdom in Words
As philosopher Alan Watts once said;
“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”
Flip The Script
So, how do we outsmart this paradox? It starts with a shift in perspective. Happiness isn’t just about external achievements; it’s about internal fulfillment.
We need to;
- Cultivate Genuine Relationships: Authentic connections bring real joy.
- Invest in Personal Growth: Self-improvement leads to lasting satisfaction.
- Find Purpose Beyond Material Gains: Look for meaning in the everyday – practising gratitude whenever we can
- Focus on the Process, Not Just the Outcome: Find joy in the journey towards your goals, not just in the achievement itself. Savour it.
- Embrace the Small Joys: Pay attention to the small pleasures of daily life – a conversation with a friend, the beauty of nature, or a good book.
There’s nothing wrong with having goals of fame or wealth or massive achievements; please, think BIG. Chase your wildest dreams. Set GIGANTIC goals.
The perspective shift here is understanding that reaching them does not guarantee you happiness. I could list you 1,000 quotes from people who have achieved everything only to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow empty.
I personally had some big wins this week and yes, when I had them I was ‘happy’. But that ‘happiness’ fades pretty quickly as you return to normal life. And guess what? ‘Normal life’ comes back around VERY quickly!
I’ve had a very happy week, but that happiness is completely outside those wins. I have found so much joy in conversations, in helping people find their own answers, in discovering unknown waterfalls, in facilitating a breakthrough that allowed someone to hit a better forehand, in a wonderful dinner that my wife cooked…
As Alan said above, design your happiness for the present.