veryone of us seeks something they truly want. Its our intrinsic nature. The purpose of seeking something keeps changing from person to person; like some seek for fame, some seek for money, some seek for love, some seek for health. If you look closely, you will find that these are extrinsic satisfaction because somewhere deep down at the core of our hearts, we all know, we are ultimately searching for the 'happiness'. "I'll be happy if I get the love of my life..., I'll be happy if I get a raise or promotion..., I'll be happy if people know my name..., I'll be happy if my sickness is healed...", and the list keeps stretching forever until the curtains of life fall down but the strings will always connected to the happiness.
"You don't become happy by pursuing the happiness, you become happy by living a life that means something," says Harold S. Kushner
~ Helen Keller
The absolute idea of happiness is terribly skewed for many people. Infact, the more you chase it, the more it moves furthur away. According to one research study, receiving a doubled income paycheck only increases your happiness by 9 percent. You will "glad" for the short term but may not be necessarily "happy" in the long term.
Another research conducted by Iris Mauss, who studies the consequence of seeking happiness, found that the more we place a great value on being happy actually increases more mental and health problems. He also said in an interview with Live Science that, "wanting to be happy can make you less happy. If you explicitly and purposely focus on happiness, that appears to have a self-defeating quality."
So what should I look for instead?
Tom Rath, the author of 'Are You Fully Charged?' revealed that getting engaged in your job increases by 250% if you are working on meaningful tasks and projects every brand new day. Happiness is about finding and balancing of whatever we do. Too much of anything will put you in some sort of distress. WHY you pursue something is just as important as WHAT you pursue.
Start with something greater than yourself by working on meaningful projects. Let go of what you can be and embrace what you are right now. Even if you are not sure what to do yet, move into the exploration and keep exploring the thing you never tried. Focus on the tasks that could make your life worth living and significant.
But before you go...
I want to share a story that I heard once which will tell you about what happiness is at its core. Sit back and relax before you jump onto the story.
Once there was a man named Jim who prayed to God for anything he wanted throughout his life. He prayed for money, he prayed for true love, et ecetra, et cetra. We all can relate this in some way. Then one night he went to bed after doing his prayers to God. As he was about to fall asleep, a strange voice echoed his room making him to jump out of his bed. Even after being frightened, he mustered up all the courage he had and finally asked to the voice, "Who is it?" The voice answered gently, "I am God." He was scared and excited both at the same time. Jim aksed to God, "Why are you here, God? What do you want?" The God answered, "Jim, you have been praying to me for many years and constantly asking me to fulfill your dreams with this and that. So, I've decide to fulfill one of your wish. It would be your first and last wish. So be careful what you wish for."
Jim asked to God that if he could get some time to think and the God the said "Of course." And then the voice disappeared. Jim decided to get some advice from his friends. One of his friends advised him to ask for money but another one reminded him that there are many people who are miserable even if thay have loads of money. Then second one suggested that he should ask for a longer life and another reminded him that he will outlive his loved ones making him feel sad and alone. Many advised many things but none of them was worth asking. Everyone of them seemed to have some kind of flaw.
Six months passed, that strange voice echoed back once more in his room aksing, "Its been six months and I must have your answer now." Name it and you'll have it. Jim looked confused and said, "Yes! I have something to ask." God replied, "Go on! What is it?"
Jim asked, "God! I don't know what to wish for. I don't know what I want in life. Can you tell me what to wish for? Then God said, "Of course! I will tell what to ask for? You should ask for is to be content with whatever happens in your life." Jim grinned and went back to sleep and voice faded.
When you learn to make peace with the fact that the purpose of life is not happiness but experience and growth, then happiness comes as a natural byproduct. It should not be seeked or pursued as an objective.