Meaning of Pain – Find Happiness In Your Negative Experiences

Let’s do a happiness exercise:

Step 1) Go to your garage or tools kit and find a saw. If you don’t have one, just grab any sharp object like a knife.
Step 2) Cut off your arm…

Ok, before you do the step 2, I will stop you and explain to you the point of this exercise.

On regular basis, we are doing actions that resemble cutting out one of our limbs, but we don’t think of these experiences as particularly bad. In fact, people jump off bridges, make a financial decision that will cripple them for the rest of the life, or make any other similar actions with a big smile on their face.

Why would they do it? Because these experience actually means something to them, at least at that moment.

Now, if I ask you to cut down your arm without giving you an explanation as to why you need to do so, you will look at me strangely. However, if I add that by doing so you will cure cancer for the whole humankind for the rest of the time, you will receive a new superior electronic arm, or any other explanation, with which you will agree, you are that much likely to do so with that smile on your face. Thus, we have two conditions:

Conditions 1: No meaningful explanation
Condition 2: Meaningful explanation

In condition 1, we are unhappy, no matter what we do, while in condition 2, we can suffer tremendously, but we can find happiness in these circumstances.

This theory has some serious implications. There are billions of people on this planet who don’t have a clue why they are here. This is to say that most of what they do has little to no meaning. Some of them are even wealthy beyond belief. However, if all these things bring them no meaning, they will remain indifferent or even unhappy. Oppositely, you may have nothing and still be happy, such as it was the case of Diogenes of Sinope who was on purpose homeless then you will be happy. These people are happy not because of their circumstances, but because they can find something fulfilling in having nothing.

Thus, throughout my writing, I give many examples of how to be happy by simply changing the meaning we give to things, so I invite to read further into this topic. Still, for now, the last point of wisdom I will leave you with is that if you are not happy today with your circumstances, it is because you have not yet found meaning for them. Find meaning even for the most tragic events of your life, and you will be happy.

Roman Russo

Roman Russo

Roman Russo is the visionary founder, senior happiness coach, and Chief Happiness Officer of Optimal Happiness. He has written the revolutionary Optimal Happiness: The Fastest and Surest Way to Reach Your Happiest Potential, a must-read book about achieving our happiest potential. After researching this field for over eight years, Roman is confident that anyone can become happy and invites us to undertake this transformation. Are you ready to start living the life you always meant to live?

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No more excuses. Here is your ultimate formula for happiness today and forever. Discover it today in our book: Optimal Happiness: The Fastest & Surest Way To Reach Your Happiest Potential ( 

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