Let’s face it. Happiness is awesome. In fact, almost NOTHING compares to that blissful satisfying “knowing” that life is great and that everything’s gonna be alright.
Some even believe that happiness is the whole purpose of our lives.
I don’t really know if I agree with that, but life certainly does seem to feel a whole lot better when we’re happy. It’s no wonder we crave it so much.
Unfortunately, we often look for it in all the wrong places. As conspiracy-theory wackos love to say –“it’s an inside job, man!”
Turns out that biologically and neurologically speaking, humans aren’t wired to feel happy all the time. It’s supposed to be a “reward system”. Apparently something to do with dopamine, serotonin, endorphin receptors and some other nerd stuff. Bummer.
But then nature did something beautiful to redeem itself…
It gave us drugs.
What an awesome invention that is. There’s actually stuff growing in the ground, that if you eat it – you suddenly feel very happy again.
+1 for nature.
But turns out there’s just two tiny problems with drugs.
- The high doesn’t last.
- They can kill you.
“Drugs are bad, mmkay?”
Alright, but what if we only consume drugs that are “safe”, legal and we do it responsibly? You know, like drinking half a bottle of vodka. In your car. While driving to your best friend’s wedding. Did you ever notice how rude people are to drunk drivers? Jeez…
As many of us have learned, even drugs that are socially acceptable (like alcohol) or have minor consequences on our health (like weed) are easily abused to a point where we do stupid stuff and we can’t function normally without them.
Fine, drugs don’t work, who cares – let Richard Ashcroft worry about that. There’s more stuff that can make us happy…
Like MONEY. And SEX. And SEX with MONEY. And FOOD. Yeah!
Unfortunately, a recent study has shown that money only accounts for overall increase in happiness up to a point of earning approximately $75,000/year, but then the effect starts to drop rapidly. Who would have known?
Orgasm is yet another drug. If it’s treated as a celebration of love, it can be an amazing heavenly experience, but if you over-indulge out of pure lust or your need to “escape reality”, it can have serious consequences on both your physical and mental health.
Over-eating, also known as emotional eating, as a form of self-therapy can often have a catastrophic impact over our lives and only make the problem worse.
WTF IS LEFT THEN?
One thing is to practice moderation and structure our lives around pleasurable things in a responsible way so that the happiness doesn’t wear off and we don’t become addicted.
Sounds great, let’s look at it.
You decide to get in shape, start working out, eating healthy, spending more time in nature, meditate, fall in love and suddenly you feel no more need for “drugs” or other forms of instant gratification. You feel good 80% of the time. You made it!
But then one day… your 10 year old family cat “Zuzu” gets run over by a hummer-truck, your mother gets a heart attack and is rushed to a hospital, you leave work to see her but your boss is an insensitive bastard and decides to use it as an excuse to fire you and your “perfect life” that you worked so hard to create is destroyed in a single morning.
At that point, there’s really not much you can do. You feel like a complete bag of horse shit. You start doubting and questioning your decisions…
“Is it really worth it? Is it worth working hard, creating a beautiful life, feeling happy for a while only to find out that random events can take it all away from us in a blink of an eye?”
Then you hear about this Buddhist idea of impermanence and you start to see the logic in it. At first it’s very hard to accept, but then you learn it’s true.
That’s the harsh truth, folks. Nothing lasts forever. Everything is a season. We just seem to have a hard time buying into that. When it’s going good we think it’s going to be good forever. And when it’s going bad we see no way it can ever get better.
The only thing left is to shift our priorities from happiness to something much more fulfilling such as authenticity, love, contribution and compassion. Unlike happiness, these are not subject to change depending on what is going on around us.
No, it is impossible to be happy all of the time, and we shouldn’t try to be. Happiness as a concept is fairly overrated and by pursuing it blindly, we cease to see that there are many other things in life that are ultimately more fulfilling.
So stop being a spoiled selfish brat and turn your focus outwards. Who can you help today? Who can you love today? What can you do for society today? Give your gift. That’s something life can never take away from you.
And surprise surprise – it also feels really freaking good!
To your success,