The Pursuit Of Happiness

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“It is the pursuit of happiness that makes people unhappy.”
Piero Scaruffi

We all want to be happy. But for many of us, happiness is an elusive, fleeting state that we can capture only for a brief moment, before it floats away like dust in the wind.

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The truth is that as human beings, almost all of our forward momentum is driven by the pursuit of happiness. Even the desire to socialize, to love, and to connect with other human beings is driven by our desire to be happy. The pursuit of better jobs, higher status, more wealth – the root of everything we are chasing is happiness.

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Pursuing happiness is not at all the same as being happy, which is a fleeting feeling dependent on momentary circumstances. If the sun is shining, it is lovely to bask in it. Happy times are great and often fun-filled, but happy times pass, because nothing stays the same. This is something we often resist, which results in us alienating ourselves and everyone around us.

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All too often we expect to be happy all the time, and we expect happiness to be delivered to us on a silver platter. We anticipate an easy life where instant gratification is available to us. And this leads to disappointment and mood swings.

I reality, that the lifelong pursuit of happiness is elusive; it is not based on quick thrills and instantaneous fulfillment. It is a ‘pursuit.’ And what you are pursuing is more likely to be meaning – living a meaningful life. It starts with your “why.” (Why are you doing what you are doing every day?) When your ‘why’ is meaningful, you are pursuing happiness.

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There will be times when things go so wrong that you barely feel ‘alive’. And there may also be times when you realise that being barely ‘alive’, on your own terms, is better than living a lifeless existence for 80 years on someone else’s terms. The pursuit is not all or nothing; it is all and nothings, with ups and downs and worthwhile lessons along the way.

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“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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