Happiness is best achieved when it is a clear goal of pursuit.
You don’t have to apologize because you want to be happy in life.
You do not have to feel that you are less sophisticated or more selfish because happiness is a direct and clear goal. You are not less holy. Those who graduate with degrees in finance are not pretending that making money is not their intent and there are a lot of Ivy League graduates who have prepared for a career in finance who would be best advised to make happiness and not piles of money their more primary pursuit.
You also do not have to pay a suffering fee in order to gain permission to be happy. You will make mistakes but there is no misery toll to be one of these privileged seekers of happiness. It is not a country club of the saintly who have “given” enough to get in. You will also not have to give up wisdom as financiers and bankers often have done.
It can be a direct pursuit for its own sake, no apologies or reasons need be offered.
In fact, those people most likely to be happy are those who make it a direct pursuit. I believe that happiness is so important, and it is born out in the research, that most everyone should have the opportunity, if only for a time, to have a happiness coach or guru.
You want to suffer and pay a price, go ahead.
It works for some who need to justify their happiness. Believe it or not, there are those with enough common sense to believe that they are happy. There are those who, rather than work at it, have discovered happiness as a way of life.
You were made for happiness just like you were made to evolve, and happiness underwrites evolution. It helps it along enormously.
We are learning more and more about some of the factors. But the “how” is not nearly as important as the decision to be clear about pursuing it. The “how” will follow the intention. Gratitude probably leads the list, at least right now.
What is important to realize is that you do not help your pursuit of happiness by thinking you have to delay it. You are just simply ignorant of the research if you think happiness is a by-product you can’t directly pursue.
In discovering happiness, people have the right to do it wrong, to make mistakes, to adjust course. Of course there will be those who will be silly and frivolous about it: but they will not outnumber those in finance who are ridiculous in their pursuit and even more frivolous with making meaning in their lives.
Each day, ask yourself as often as you can, will what I am thinking, feeling, doing, planning, move me toward being happy or away from it?
There will be a growing response in your gut that will answer the question with greater and greater accuracy, if you intend that it will. We learn from asking that question, not pretending that we are above it, more sophisticated and learned or loftier in our pursuits.
We learn our way by being honest in our right to the pursuit of it, not in lying to ourselves and others that we will come by it by being above it with our pretense that it is not what we want essentially.
Our happiness will most bless those who have to put up with us, especially those we seek to “help.” And it will most inspire and guide those whose noble goal is to understand and relieve suffering; it will renew them and clarify the measure for their own good and the good of others.
© Dr. William K. Larkin