“Happiness is not a destination, it’s a way of life.”
Happiness. We look for it in different places. Some of us hope to buy it. Some think we can earn it. Others look for it in a new job, a new relationship, or a new accomplishment.
But one thing remains: happiness is something we all desire. We were designed to experience it.
Why then, does it appear at times to be so elusive? How can a society search so desperately for something, but still struggle to find it?
Maybe it is because the pursuits we have set before us as a means to find it are actually keeping us from it.
Consider these 9 pursuits and how they may be distracting us from happiness. Each of them are common in our lives and in our world. But rather than contributing to our happiness, they may be robbing us of it.
9 Common Pursuits That Rob Us of Happiness
1. Following the crowd. The crowd rarely has our best interests in mind. Instead, they seek their own benefit. Scientists call this crowd mentality. And more often than not, following the crowd leads to destructive behaviors rather than life-giving. We would be wise to seek input into our lives from other sources than the popular perceptions of the day.
2. Trying to please everybody. Bill Cosby said it this way, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” We are never going to please everybody. At some point, we will hold anunpopular opinion—one that gives us meaning and purpose and passion. And when we do, we ought to hold on to it desperately.
3. Chasing wealth. Studies confirm it over and over again: once our most basic needs have been met, money contributes very little to our overall happiness. And yet, we continue to pursue more as if it holds the secret key to lasting joy. But those who desire riches bring temptation to themselves and are often caught in a trap. Happiness is never the byproduct of chasing wealth.
4. Desiring a picture-perfect life. Happiness is not something we discover only after everything is perfect with our lives (our jobs, our appearance, our relationships). If that were the case, none of us would ever experience happiness. This world is imperfect—always will be. But happiness can still be found once we realize perfection is not a prerequisite.
5. Building our own kingdom. The size of our universe shrinks dramatically when we place ourselves at the center. Living selfishly for our own personal gain will never produce lasting happiness and fulfillment. Our lives are designed to be lived for something far greater. And only those who discover the hidden joy of living for others will find a happiness that truly lasts.
6. Entertaining distraction. Our world has become a constant feed of information, noise, and entertainment. Each distraction enters our mind with one goal: Gain control of our attention and resources. Those who sacrifice their resources to unlimited curiosity will never find the mental or financial capacity to become something greater.
7. Fighting for recognition. Searching for happiness in recognition is a losing endeavor. The world will never give you the respect or accolades you so desperately desire. They are all too busy fighting for their own. You will need to find it elsewhere.
8. Succumbing to fear. If given the chance, fear will always cripple. It will steal your life and potential. Living your fullest life will require courage in the face of fear. Sometimes you will fail. But be strong, most of the time, you will succeed—or become better because of it.
9. Searching for it around the next corner. Happiness is not something to be chased. It is a decision to be made. (tweet that)
And you have everything you need right now to choose it.
About Joshua Becker
Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.