Thoughts on Happiness (Based on ‘Happier’ by Tal Ben-Shahar)

life-word-press
All of us want to be happy.

Some pursue success so that they can be happy later.

Others pursue pleasure so that they can be happy now.

But neither pursuing success nor pursuing pleasure is the answer.

PURSUING SUCCESS DOES NOT LEAD TO HAPPINESS

Why?

> Because it means depriving ourselves of happiness now
Pursuing success requires discipline. It means giving up what would make us happy now in order to experience happiness later.

> Because we may never actually become successful
Even if we are disciplined, there is no guarantee of success. In fact, the research shows that unhappy people rarely become successful.

> Because even if we do become successful, it won’t make us happy
There are plenty of successful people who are unhappy. And there are plenty of unsuccessful people who are happy.

PURSUING PLEASURE DOES NOT LEAD TO HAPPINESS

Why?

> Because it means depriving ourselves of happiness later
Pursuing pleasure often means engaging in activities that do not bring about long term success.

> Because it’s difficult to truly enjoy the moment if we know there are long term consequences
Knowing that we are making a poor decision keeps us from truly enjoying the moment and deprives us of happiness now.

PEOPLE WHO LIVE GREAT LIVES PURSUE “HAPPINESS NOW + HAPPINESS LATER”

HAPPY NOW

UNHAPPY NOW

 HAPPY
LATER

HAPPINESS

SUCCESS

 UNHAPPY
LATER

PLEASURE

DEFEAT

CAREER
> People who pursue success will choose a career that they don’t enjoy now, hoping to become rich in the future.
> People who pursue pleasure now will choose a career that they enjoy now, knowing that it will not bring about success in the future.
> People who pursue happiness will choose a career that they enjoy now, but will also bring about success in the future.

FOOD
> People who pursue success will choose food that tastes terrible now, in order to look great in the future.
> People who pursue pleasure will choose food that tastes great now, but will make you fat and unhealthy in the future.
> People who pursue happiness will choose food that tastes great now, and will also make you look great in the future.

RELATIONSHIPS
> People who pursue success will choose to date people that they don’t really love, because they think they might be a good marriage partner in the future.
> People who pursue pleasure will choose to date people who they love being with now, even though they know it will turn out bad in the future.
> People who pursue happiness will choose to date people who they love, but will also make a good marriage partner for the future.

OTHER
> This same principle can be used in the area of finances, recreation, friendships, etc.

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