Would more success make you happier?
Would more money make you happier?
Would more fame make you happier?
Would more time to travel make you happier?
Would more friends make you happier?
Would a hotter, cooler, more loyal girlfriend make you happier?
The ordinary man places his life’s happiness in things external to him, in property, rank, wife and children, friends, society, and the like, so that when he loses them or finds them disappointing, the foundation of his happiness is destroyed. In other words, his centre of gravity is not in himself; it is constantly changing its place, with every wish and whim. If he is a man of means, one day it will be his house in the country, another buying horses, or entertaining friends, or traveling — a life, in short, of general luxury, the reason being that he seeks his pleasure in things outside him. (Arthur Schopenhauer)
No, I’m not going to tell you that you shouldn’t strive for acquiring whatever goods you wish for—who the fuck am I—nor am I going to tell you that you can choose to be happy, or that happiness is all about thinking positively and having a proper mindset; whatever. Depending on your definition, happiness might even be some girly emotion that has nothing to do with mindcoolness in the first place; who knows.
From what I’ve experienced, though, happiness—as joy and fulfillment (which is all that matters to me)—comes from Doing, Being, and Giving:
- Happiness comes from Doing an action that expresses autonomy (freedom) and/or skill (mastery).
- Happiness comes from Being in a state that comprises focus (flow state) and/or presence (mindfulness).
- Happiness comes from Giving something to the world that produces pride and/or gratitude to the gods of nature.
There are many paths to joy and fulfilment. Pleasure or pain, social or anti-social, struggle or ease, rich or poor, loved or hated—isn’t that all secondary?
What truly matters to me is the activity of my will. Nothing I could ever acquire could bestow on me the same richness of joy and fulfillment as the active power of my purposeful will. (Yes, one’s True Will is something deeper than “I want.”)
But what do I know. I’d rather ask you: What makes you most happy in life? And do you think that there’s a difference between how men and women experience happiness? Let me know in the comment section below!