Rather than asking yourself, “What will make me happy?” perhaps you should be asking yourself “What am I willing to suffer for?”
A blog inspired by the book” Everything Is Fucked – A Book About Hope” by Mark Manson
Striving for what we believe to be true happiness seems like an endless battle. Sure, we might feel it for short periods of time…but why is it we can never maintain it?
Are we destined to be constantly chasing a 10/10 level of happiness for the rest of our lives?
How long can we keep chasing it before we reach the point where we need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe even millions? Either that or O.D. on some kinda drug of choice
One way to find out is to do a massive study of hundreds of people’s happiness levels from all walks of life which is exactly what a bunch of psychologists decided to do in the ’80s. They wanted to solve that ever-elusive question of what makes people happy
What The Study Involved
Everyone participating in the study had to carry a pager with them (cos that’s how it was back in the ’80s) and every time the pager went off each participant had to write down the answers to 2 questions…
- On a scale of 1 – 10 how happy are you at this moment?
- What has been going on in your life?
What The Study Revealed
Believe it or not, pretty much everyone rated themselves as feeling a level of 7 no matter what was going on in their lives. If something was happening in their life that they believed was significantly negative they would dip to a level between 2 – 5 for a short while. The same went for positive events – happiness levels would shoot up for a short period of time but would always return to a level of 7
It seems as though life has us averaging at a level of 7 no matter what
But for some reason, our minds tell us that if I could have X or do Y then I’d reach a level 10 and stay there
And it’s because of this that so many people spend so much of their energy chasing that constant level of 10
But the thing is, chasing a constant level of 10 is like a donkey chasing a hanging carrot attached to its head. The more forward it goes the more forward it still needs to go.
If you believe you’ll be happy when you achieve a certain goal, sure, once you achieve it you stay happy for a while but then levels of happiness dip back down to a 7
So what to do?
What about instead of striving for a level 10 of happiness that we instead understand that in actual fact, pain is a universal constant in life. Feeling positive removes pain temporarily and feeling negative increasing pain temporarily and attempting to numb pain results in numbing all feelings and emotions
Because at the end of the day, as the research discovered, pain, discomfort or negativity will always be there. It seems we bob up and down around a level 7 of happiness no matter what’s happened in our lives – pain is the universal constant of the human condition
So to feel a constant state of 10/10 happiness is impossible and pursuing it just makes it less attainable
I don’t know about you, but for me – discovering this gem of an insight helps me to relax about myself. It’s O.K to not be bubbly and happy all the time. In fact, it’s normal.
But what I found even more powerful was understanding that rather than pursuing some unattainable level of happiness 24/7 that perhaps the better pursuit is the pursuit of the greatest cause to suffer for – if we’re gonna experience pain we may as well experience it for a bloody good reason
The Pain I Choose….
As Tony Robbins once famously quoted,
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change”
The pain of working a job I found unfulfilling that required me to be so flexible that it often interfered with my personal time, knowing it would never enable me to achieve the life I’ve wanted since childhood, is a pain I do not find meaningful. That is why I now choose the pain of learning how to create and build a successful online business. Because as frustrating as it can be at times at least I know I am working towards a life of more time and financial freedom that will allow me to do more of what I value and love in my day not to mention enable me to live the life I’ve always dreamed.