Why You Should Give Up On “The Pursuit Of Happiness”… And Go After This Instead
Hi. I’m Andy, co-founder of TheFoundation.com
In the past three years we’ve built our business from nothing into a multi-million dollar company that’s helped students from all over the world start businesses from scratch.
One of our students emailed me this question after I posted a sad status update on Facebook:
How does a guy who seems to have everything he wants get in a dip? You have done such great things for other people, I feel you shouldn’t be sad.
Here was my response:
First-the idea that I’ve “done such great things for other people” is simply your perception. You could say that about anyone. But that’s just a minor detail…
More importantly, let’s talk about sadness.
I don’t optimize my life for happiness, like most people do…
A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to give up on “The Pursuit of Happiness”… and choose the experience of “feeling alive” instead.
I let go of chasing happiness. And, instead, I chose to fully experience whatever is in my reality in that moment.
I dropped the searching, the seeking and the waiting for something external to make me ‘feel something different’ and started allowing myself to be with what I’m experiencing right now.
So far, I’ve gotta admit… it’s not the ‘happiest’ way to live…
But I do feel like I’m actually LIVING now…
Happiness is great. And amazing. And sweet. And… it’s just one emotion on the whole color wheel of life.
A life of only happiness sounds, frankly, boring.
Have you noticed the most intense feeling of happiness always follow the most intense feeling of darkness?
The lower the low, the higher the high.
Why is that?
Because we live in a world of duality. Right and wrong. Black and White. Good and Evil.
The beauty of living in duality is the freedom to experience ALL of it.
Sometimes I’m happy. Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m angry. Embarrassed. Awkward. Turned on. Frustrated. Pissed off. Ecstatic. And more.
Any one of those feelings for a lifetime would eventually be boring.
So… to answer your question, overall, I’m feeling pretty grateful in my life. Most days.
And, the first quarter of this year was SUPER dark. It was the closest thing to a ‘depression’ I’ve felt.
The funny thing is, almost every problem I experienced during that depressed state was a dream for me to have, just a few years ago.
But I still felt low…
Because desire never ends. (Until you die.)
After analyzing five years of my journals, two of the most common used words in each year were always the same…
Can you guess what they are?
I journal like crazy. And each year I do a word analysis to see what was most alive for me. After three years of journaling, I noticed two of the top used words were always the same…
“Feel” And “Want”
It stunned me when I saw how consistent these two words were… And then I realized something:
This is the nature of reality.
I feel X. I want Y. I get Y. I feel Z and I want A.
And the cycle goes on and on…
I wanted a good corporate job. Got it. Felt ecstatic. And then I hated it.
I wanted a ‘freedom business’ so I could travel. Got it. Loved it. Then I got bored and lonely.
I wanted to meet my soul mate. Met her… (That one I’m hoping sticks around for the long haul. 😀 )
But do you see the point?
The game never ends.
The challenges only get bigger.
The games only get more complex.
The desires morph into something new.
There is no destination.
No end point.
No eternal state of bliss awaiting you when you ‘arrive.’
All of that is a fantasy.
What’s true is… this.
Right here. Right now.
Everything you are experiencing in this moment.
There’s nowhere to go, except here.
Give up on the pursuit of happiness because it is a fantasy that is unattainable.
Give it up.
And, instead, live for right now.
For this moment. And everything in it.
PS — Oh, and the paradox of this whole thing?
When you let go of chasing happiness, you can actually experience more of it… in this moment… without having to go anywhere to ‘seek’ or ‘find’ it.
Isn’t that ironic?
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