People believe that happiness is a destination because they are looking for something finite and concrete in their lives, such as money, cars, power, success, family, etc. They believe that once they get it, all the pieces will just fall into their correct places and they will automatically become happy.
However, as famous comedian Jim Carrey once said:
I hope everybody could get rich and famous, and do everything they ever dreamed of, so they would know that it’s not the answer.
Happiness is Not a Destination Paradox
Would you agree with the following statement: The more you pursue happiness, the faster it runs from you?
Quite a paradox, wouldn’t you say?
To solve this paradox, we need to understand that happiness is a journey not a destination. There is no one single finish line, but rather an endless number of checkpoints along the journey, which never quite ends.
In other words, the finish line doesn’t realistically exist, as we are not designed to be happy no matter where we are in life.
Even the rich, powerful, and successful people continue to have problems when they achieve what they want in life. They continue to striving for more and if ever they are to stop striving for more for a long period of time, this is when they start feeling empty, discontent, and dissatisfied.
Quality Problem on a Road to Happiness
We even have a term for problems of the super rich, successful, or otherwise wealthy people, calling them “quality problems.” These are the type of problems people who don’t have these problem would love to have, but people who have them, don’t want them. A few examples:
- People worry about their multi-million / billion dollar business because even small changes in the market can significantly affect their wealth;
- People compare themselves with those who have even more, even despite having a lot or too much!
- They know they are set today, but what about tomorrow? Despite their wealth, they still worry that someday in the future they will lose their wealth.
Laughable problems to people who don’t have these problems, but issues that cause a lot of concern, sleepless nights, and white hairs for those who have them.
Why Happiness is a Journey
Thus, we will always have problems, no matter who we are and what we do. A life without problems is just unrealistic. Still, this is not an excuse for being unhappy, as our problems are part of our journey, our happiness, and our lives.
So people are unhappy, but not because they don’t have enough, as most of us already have too much. Rather, we are just focusing on the wrong things, such as lack of whatever next item in an infinite list of desires that we have. As such, we forget that we already have more than enough, and we need to remind ourselves to be grateful for the things that we have.
To do so, say: “I’m grateful for …” and remind yourself of everything that you have, rather than what you are missing.
For example “I’m grateful for being young, healthy, have a roof over my shoulders, have amazing friends, and a supportive family.”
Happiness Has Many Destinations
This doesn’t, however, mean that we should stop striving for more success in our lives, simply because human beings are not designed to be passive. We always need to be doing something, meaning that anyone who tells you that happiness is found in relaxing, procrastinating, and being idle is only telling you half of the story.
Thus, we need to make goals and always work towards something constructive. Yet, we should do it from a position of strength, such as “I don’t need it, but I will do it anyway,” rather than weakness, “I need it, as my life depends on it.”
In other words, happiness is not a destination, but a way of life, which we address on a day-by-day basis, making the most of what we can, hopefully learning that we can be happy regardless of who we are, where we are from, and what are our life circumstances.