The Goal Of Life Isn't To Be Happy

Almost everyone seeks happiness and happiness comes in many different forms. Some try to obtain happiness by hanging out with friends, earning a lot of money, eating a lot of food, etc. However, happiness never seems to last. It goes just as quickly as it came. For most of us, this is supposedly a bad thing, because the goal in life is to be happy right? Well the problem is that that is not true. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Happiness, is just like every other emotion: fear, sadness, envy, etc. Every emotion has a time and place. If you were happy all of the time, two things would happen:

  1. The feeling of happiness would become inflated, so every moment full of happiness would become less valuable. You can’t appreciate the sun without experiencing the night. Without moments of sadness and fear, you would no longer fully appreciate an immersion of happiness.

  2. Emotions are meant to keep you on the right track. Life isn’t perfect and it never will be. There are times when the appropriate emotion to feel is fear. If you were happy in a time of crisis, well you would look like a lunatic, and chances are you wouldn’t be taking the appropriate action needed to keep you safe like you would if you were afraid.

So if happiness isn’t the goal, what is?

Glad you asked, the goal is to live a meaningful life, to know that you and your work matters. When that is the goal, happiness is a by-product. When you look at what “happiness” is below the surface, it is an emotion that you feel when you have just accomplished something or somebody connects with you in a positive way, whatever it is, happiness correlates with how fulfilled you are. Being a tribal species, we find fulfillment in connecting with others or more specifically when we know that we matter. We long for acceptance and to know that we are appreciated. When we are appreciated, we become happy.

So I ask, what better way to be truly appreciated than to do good work? To create value for others?

Absolutely nothing. The more value you can create for others, the more fulfillment you will receive because the more accepted you will be and the more you will feel like you matter. It’s simple. So instead of chasing happiness in food, money, drugs, sex, etc. get lost in your work, get lost in the value you create for others. Ultimately, if the work you are doing aligns with your core being, the more you do it, the more you will become fulfilled. The more you do it, the more others will benefit. So create, do, indulge in your work and live with intention. A life of meaning will cultivate happiness. Stop chasing happiness, it’s too vague. Get specific, what line of work speaks to your inner core? Now get to creating and kick some ass.

Gregory AlexanderComment