Loving, caring, sharing, kindness, compassion, empathy, respect, equality, freedom, peace, critical thinking, logic, reason, understanding, science…
I don’t agree with that. Focusing on goals puts happiness with the success of the goals making it almost unreachable as when we reach a goal, we often make a new one. I think tying our lives to other people is the easiest way to have a happy life as even the simplest things, when shared with someone we care for, can be a happy act.
This one is wide open to interpretation, so I can see where it might fall short in the eyes of some.
I read it something like this:
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it (your life) to a goal (feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, caring for the sick and elderly, protesting violence, making the world a better place, etc.), not to people (boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, partner, a celebrity, etc.) or objects (a 20 room mansion, a $250K Lamborghini, an island in the South Pacific, etc.)”.
How I interpret it:
1. “If you want to live a happy life, tie it (your life) to a goal (feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, caring for the sick and elderly, protesting violence, making the world a better place, etc.)…”
Small goals are great for getting from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ (stepping stones), but larger goals (if you are passionate about them) can be great for motivating you for a lifetime. These goals can be of the ‘realistically obtainable’ variety or of the ‘perhaps not in my lifetime, but some day’ type.
Example: I want to be part of the transition toward a resource based economy. Chances are we won’t get there in my lifetime, but knowing that my life had true purpose and meaning, and that I was able to put the world on a path to a better tomorrow for everyone, including my grandchildren, I can die with peace of mind and without regret.
2. “…not to people (boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, partner, a celebrity, etc.)…”
When you tie your happiness to a person or people, you’re giving up some of your responsibility for your own happiness. Now all of a sudden some (half?) of your happiness depends on the life and actions of other people. I make enough mistakes in my own life, I don’t need any help there. In the case of friends and/or loved ones, what happens when you fall out of like and/or love? You’re world will come crumbling down around you. The same can be said for celebrities. More often than not they are making fine examples of how not to act or live. If your happiness depends on them, chances are, happiness will not be in your future.
3. “…or objects (a 20 room mansion, a $250K Lamborghini, an island in the South Pacific, etc.)”.
I don’t think this part was really in question, but just for the sake of covering all bases: possessions don’t bring happiness. They are mere distractions from life, like a drug. They may bring pleasure in the short term, but that high will ware off. Then you are left looking for more and more to continue the feeling of euphoria. No happiness to be found on that route.
Now, with all that said, I wanted to say that I don’t completely disagree with:
“I think tying our lives to other people is the easiest way to have a happy life as even the simplest things, when shared with someone we care for, can be a happy act”.
I am a big believer in simplicity, but I don’t think “…the easiest way…” will ever lead to happiness. Challenge is so rewarding. As for sharing your life and happiness with someone, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just don’t depend on that person for your happiness.
Maybe he should have said something more like:
“People and possessions will come and go, but passion filled lifelong goals will give your life meaning and true happiness”.
Don’t waste your time looking or waiting for knights in shining armor, super models, sugar mommas or poppas. If you want to be happy, find a purpose for your life and then live it. Hey, that sound pretty good too. Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that.
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