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While in Pursuit of Happiness

In the last post, “The Cost of Happiness”, the premise was how each of us defines happiness and to figure out the moment when we’ve finally attained it (

click here to read it). Although its definition and methods of acquisition are different for each of us, I wonder if sometimes during the pursuit of this elusive prize, it is possible that the quest becomes more of a distraction rather than an honest journey towards this cherished goal?

For some, happiness comes with a feeling of accomplishment. It could be as simple as giving a bottle of water to a stranger or as complex as building a successful business from the ground up. Many entrepreneurs have struggled profusely and against all odds, created an ostensibly successful business for which they deserve to be proud of their efforts. But is it possible that this struggle can become a distraction or perhaps even a barrier prohibiting them from finding happiness? How could something which has produced such a positive outcome ever be considered destructive?

By no means am I suggesting this is the case for all successful businesspeople; however, please stay with me for one moment. You’ve probably heard some wealthy person who is getting back into business say something like, “it’s not about the money, it’s about the win.” That is certainly a fair statement but why is it about the win? Is it possible that after their first go-around the accomplished feelings wore off and they are now wondering why all of those achievements and accolades did not bring them a longer and more fulfilling happiness than it did? During their struggle, they spent endless hours of hard work, sleepless nights, and level of dedication reached by few. Although there were painfully difficult times, the end result far outweighed the adversities and made the victory even sweeter to enjoy. There was no doubt it brought happiness to their lives and those who accompanied them along the way. Now that the victory was long over and the emotional high began losing its initial excitement and exhilaration, it could lead one to believe that the “pursuit” really was what gave them happiness.

After all, where did that person find the joy? It was in the struggle. The journey filled with seemingly insurmountable hurdles and a myriad of other quandaries, provided an ample amount of excitement and exhilaration which, after resolving and overcoming these obstacles, delivered enormous feelings of accomplishment. It would stand to reason that once the “happiness” wore off, the best way to regain those feelings would be to get back in the game.

This is not just a wealthy person’s issue. I believe that many of us distract ourselves during our own pursuit of happiness in numerous ways. How many life coaches or consultants overwhelm their schedules with struggling clients hoping that by helping them and seeing satisfaction on their client’s faces, will somehow supersede their own efforts in finding joy within. It is a noble thing to help others, don’t get me wrong. However, it should not be an attempt to replace, distract, or overlook issues that plague our own lives.

Happiness is a fascinating subject and I will continue next time with more thoughts on what it means and how do we know when it is within our grasp. It was however, important to present the possibility that sometimes, while we think we are headed in a specific direction, our goals might be impeding us from the things which can truly make us happy. Thanks as always to E. Rachel Thompson for the beautiful photos. Find out more about her here. I look forward to some very interesting and diverse comments.

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