Why the Pursuit of Happiness Only Makes You Miserable
Is your goal to be happy? Have you ever heard the phrase, “I just want you to be happy.”? How about, “I wish you all the happiness in the world.”? If your goal is happiness, then I propose that you are on a path of frustration and continual disappointment.
Life is full of happy moments. Like the birth of my children or the day I met my wife. Those moments are precious and occasions that I always cherish, but in the end, they are just moments and they pass too quickly. Happiness is fleeting. It is something that we would all like to experience all the time, but if you spend your days in pursuit of happiness, then you will find that you are leading a life full of emptiness and misery.
What’s wrong with just being happy? Don’t we all deserve happiness? Yes, but not as the end game, because in the end, it is not happiness that sustains us. It’s similar to attempting to sustain your life on nothing but candy bars. Yes, candy is delicious, but can you lead a healthy life only on candy bars?
Joy, however, is a different story. A joyful life is a life full of abundance chalked full of happy moments, but rooted deep with satisfaction. What is joy and how is it different from happiness? You know it when you encounter it and you experience it every day. Have you ever met a person that seems to have everything, but they just don’t seem content with their life? Have you ever read a sad story about a young celebrity that has the world at his feet, but checked into drug rehab and can’t seem to get his life together, but then read about a terminally ill young lady that is at the brink of losing everything but seems to drink life with unfettered excitement? What’s the difference? Joy is the difference.
You don’t pursue joy, like you pursue happiness. Joyful is something you become in the process of discerning and then living your life based on your calling. Every person has a unique set of talents and gifts that are intertwined to make up a unique set of assets that separate us from everyone else on the planet. Like snowflakes, none of us are the same. Our lives are of genuine design, created for a purpose that only we can discover.
So instead of living your life in pursuit of happiness, I recommend that you lead a life of discovery. Search for the sweet spot in your life where you learn to work within your passion at a proficient level that will have the Lord smile down on you and all that you accomplish. Joy is a place where your passion and your life’s work meet on a continual basis and you know that what you are doing with your life is meaningful and impactful. Find that spot in your life and stay there, grow there, and become what God intended you to be and your life will be full of joy and satisfaction that will make your heart sing and excited to wake up every day and face life’s challenges.
Stop pursing and start becoming what you were created to do. Only you can discover that purpose and when you do, a joyful spirit will be your reward. If joy is your goal, then start by reading this article, How to Discern Your Calling by New York Times bestselling author, Michael Hyatt. Good luck!