Why Chasing Happiness Is Futile

The following meal I eat will likely be the most effective meals I’ve ever had. 

My grandfather had colon most cancers. My father had colon most cancers. Fortunately, they each recovered with surgical procedure to take away it, but when the pattern continues, I’m subsequent. So, on the “younger” age of 36 (I used quote marks as a result of that is the oldest I’ve ever been), I’m getting a colonoscopy.

To organize for a colonoscopy, it’s essential to filter your digestive system in order that the physician can see what’s up… there. Once I say clear it out, I imply CLEAR. IT. OUT. The day earlier than the process, you’re handled to a buffet of laxatives, adopted by consuming a gallon of colon prep liquid, and naturally, you may’t eat any meals. The day finally ends up being like that one scene from Dumb and Dumber on repeat. Maintain your colon, children.

All in all, will probably be virtually two days between meals for me. Sheesh. I’ve been taking meals as a right. I’m wanting judgmentally upon my previous self, who seemed judgmentally on the contents of my fridge and thought there’s nothing to eat. Choosy idiot of a Took, I used to be!

I might scale a mountain to eat a stale pretzel proper now. I might eat fuel station sushi. And my meals expertise jogs my memory of how happiness works. It’s dynamic and relative. Dangerous meals to a hungry particular person (me) tastes significantly better than connoisseur meals to a full or spoiled particular person.

Simply because the primary slice of pizza is heavenly, doesn’t imply eight extra slices will likely be 8x higher. It could be 8x worse!

Human happiness will not be an absolute scale you could climb larger and better.

Josh Radnor performed the principle character Ted on the present How I Met Your Mom. He’s skilled this idea. Radnor stated:

“When How I Met Your Mom first went on the air, I bumped into an actress that I knew and he or she stated, ‘Are you similar to so joyful on a regular basis?’ And I keep in mind pondering, ‘Does she actually suppose that when CBS picked up this present, it left me with an incapacity to really feel something aside from unbridled pleasure?’ However the joke was on me as a result of I type of thought it might.”

Any constructive windfall of excellent fortune will spike an individual’s happiness ranges larger briefly: successful the lottery, a brand new relationship, successful an award, having your present picked up by CBS, and so forth. But it surely acts like a drug in that the preliminary excessive can’t be sustained for lengthy. It should rapidly dissipate, normally sooner than you anticipate. And that’s an excellent factor.

For those who attempt to maintain a excessive (which requires in search of larger highs), chances are you’ll delay the magic, certain, however you additionally elevate your expectations, making it more and more tougher to get that feeling till it turns into unimaginable. That is referred to as the hedonic treadmill, as a result of regardless of how exhausting you chase this sense, you’ll by no means completely attain it and keep there. No one ever will as a result of the human mind isn’t designed that approach!

The more durable you chase happiness as a vacation spot, the much less happy you’ll be (no matter what you accomplish).

The very best highs in life are literally the best hazard to your long-term contentment. The upper you increase the bar, the extra probably you’re going to be below it. There are lots of individuals on the market who’re “residing the dream” and utterly depressed as a result of their expectations are too elevated. Radnor observed this direct correlation with the present: “Because the present received extra profitable, I received extra depressed.” (full speech hyperlink)

Radnor received’t get a lot sympathy as a beloved millionaire on a success TV present, however let’s not dismiss his emotions. Radnor’s emotions are actual, cheap, and customary in his scenario. Jim Carrey as soon as stated, “I feel all people ought to get wealthy and well-known and do all the pieces they ever dreamed of to allow them to see that it’s not the reply.”

Now, to deal with the elephant on this dialog, in fact everybody would moderately cry in a mansion than in a cardboard field. However the fact is that nice success makes folks extra vulnerable to this phenomenon, and this phenomenon has an important lesson for all of us. It’s maybe a lesson that we be taught at totally different instances, and at totally different ranges.

It’s solely once you begin checking off your whole wildest goals (as Carrey says) that you just absolutely understand there’s no vacation spot such as you thought there’d be. You by no means arrive. Most of us don’t get to expertise all of our wildest goals, so we keep on this fantastical mindset of if solely I had this, then I’d be joyful.

The true reply to higher happiness lies elsewhere, and it applies to everybody, no matter their standing, fame, or fortune. 

Why A Different Lifetime of Contentment Is Finest

If there’s one factor I’ve discovered over this previous 12 months, it’s that life’s center and low moments have a lot of worth. They aren’t as enjoyable because the highs—I spent hours in my rest room immediately—however they make highs potential and extra gratifying. Give it some thought. You may’t have highs with out lows or middles. Think about an ideal life through which all you ever skilled had been highs. They wouldn’t be highs anymore, they’d turn into regular. 

Replace: The colonoscopy went effectively. No polyps both. And boy do I admire meals now!

A great life has challenges. It includes exhausting work, play, and issues to resolve. It has lows, middles, highs, and occasional colonoscopies (apparently). Collectively, this selection can weave a cloth of contentment should you so select it. The lows preserve you humble and off of the hedonic treadmill, and so they not solely make you admire the highs extra, they make you admire the center, the place we spend most of our lives! For instance, folks eat on daily basis and there’s nothing extra bizarre than that, however I can guarantee you that fasting modifications that dynamic. That’s relative happiness in a nutshell. Nutshell. Mmm… I need to eat pistachios now.

For those who go with out meals for a day or two, you’ll admire your subsequent meal at the least twice as a lot!

The large takeaways are concepts that may serve you for the remainder of your life. You may apply these immediately and wherever. These are merely views chances are you’ll select to undertake if you want.

  1. Don’t anticipate fixed happiness. It should make you sadder than an individual who doesn’t achieve this.
  2. Don’t chase happiness too exhausting, as a result of in one of the best case situation, you’ll create a hedonic treadmill scenario, which might solely finish in unhappiness (hopefully resetting your expectations).
  3. Do select contentment or happiness when potential. This quantities to being grateful. You may admire the excessive with out anticipating or chasing extra. This can preserve you in a wholesome place mentally.
  4. Be taught to understand the struggles and challenges of life for a way they preserve you grounded, humble, and capable of expertise highs on a extra profound degree.

Each particular person’s life may have a distinct ratio of lows, middles, and highs. However I feel one of the best perspective applies to all of us.

Relatively than anticipate or chase a sense that may come and go, merely do your finest in life and admire the sensation of happiness when it’s there. It should come naturally and extra typically this manner.

I am Christian Nnakuzierem Alozie (Kris Kuzie Alozie). A native of Eziama Nneato in Umunneochi LGA, Abia State, Nigeria. I am an inspirational writer and a motivational speaker. And above all, a lover of charity.

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