October 04, 2014

The pursuit of happiness is about finding meaning

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, by all means bask in it. Happy times are great and often fun-filled, but happy times pass, because time passes. This is something we rarely grasp at first.

The lifelong pursuit of happiness, on the other hand, is more elusive; it’s not based on a particular outcome. What you are really pursuing is meaning – living a meaningful life. It starts with your “why.” (Why are you doing what you’re doing with your life?) When your “why” is meaningful, you are pursuing happiness. There will be times when things go so wrong that you barely feel alive. And there will also be times when you realize that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a lifeless existence for eighty years on someone else’s terms. The pursuit isn’t all or nothing; it’s all AND nothing, with ups and downs and worthwhile lessons along the way.
In other words, I have learned that happiness comes most easily when you know what you’re doing, believe in what you’re doing, and love what you’re doing (and who you’re doing it with), regardless of how things turn out. 

After I reread these three paragraphs, I paused, reflected and added ...

Gandhi once said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.” 

I love this quote. I have learned the hard way, that every day is a gift, and the gift is an opportunity to live, to learn, and to grow.

Be a student of life. Indulge in it and absorb all the knowledge you can, while you can. You may have to lose some things to gain some things, and you may have to learn some things the hard way. That’s OK.  All experiences in life are necessary. The purpose of your life is to live it in full, to partake in it to the utmost, to reach out with an open mind and an honest heart for the newest and richest experience being offered. 

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