Stop Pursuing Happiness


Not too long ago, after a couple beers at the bar with a fellow patron, I brought up this familiar phrase, "The pursuit of happiness". Almost immediately, the gentleman I was sharing this conversation with myth-busted the happiness pursuit idea, and told me something that has stuck with me ever since:

"Sadness is just as important as happiness, and perhaps even more important. To me, life isn't about the pursuit of happiness. It's about the pursuit of experience."

He's right. I think the pursuit of happiness is a cheap trick. What about sadness, and all other emotions in between? Not to say that you should pursue sadness, but to choose only happiness - out the entire spectrum of emotion that we humans can experience - as the end-all-be-all in terms of life fulfillment, is stupid. I mean, how would you even know what happiness is, without taking the time to know sadness?

We're human. The fact that we can feel anything at all is a gift. Even if a feeling seems negative at the time, don't ignore it just because it isn't the feeling that you're after. Explore it. Appreciate it. Learn from it.

So, since I don't have a couple beers in me at this time, I'd like to improvise a bit on the thought that my fellow patron originally shared:

Pursue experiences that make you feel something, embrace and explore that something (even if it isn't happiness), and adjust your pursuits accordingly.