We all have a deep desire to be happy. Who wouldn’t want to be happy? We all cherish those moments when we experience deep satisfaction and want to live in a moment forever.
This is the problem. These moments won’t last forever and we end up chasing them. We fill the voids in our life with foods that are too sweet or scroll through the endless feed on our phones until we find that perfect thing that will make us eternally happy.
Our brains get conditioned to pursue the things we associate with being happy. Imagine those times when you were a kid and when you did something good, your parents rewarded you with sweets. Now as an adult every time you want to feel like you did something good, you reward yourself with sweets. That conditioning goes a long way and is woven into us.
Instead of pursuing happiness, we need to pursue something else. Something deeper and more satisfying than the chase.
Pursue Mental Friction
You know those moments when you don’t want to work out but you know you should? What about when you procrastinate doing your taxes or doing anything else in your life that you know you should be doing?
More often than not, when you experience mental friction, that’s a sign that you should do it. We all have responsibilities in our lives whether we like it or not.
Next time you experience mental friction, take it in. Ask yourself why you are experiencing it.
We make trade-offs every day of our lives. We can choose to sit on the couch instead of going for a run. We can choose to go out drinking instead of staying home to work on our side project. Deep down, you know what to do.
Use that mental friction to your advantage. When you feel it, that is a sign that it’s time to go.
Pursue growing yourself as a person. Sometimes this will require you to make sacrifices that may not make you happy in the immediate moment. Over time, those sacrifices will be worth it.
Maybe you want to make more friends but you’re uncomfortable talking to strangers and breaking the ice. This will require you to be uncomfortable for a set period of time which will make you slightly unhappy. The only way to grow is to be uncomfortable.
Pursue A Process
Create a process for yourself to build a fulfilling life. It’s challenging to go in day in and day out with the same process over and over again. You may not notice any results from it in the first few months.
Imagine if you kept up with a fitness routine for 2 years. Imagine for two years you worked out for 30 minutes a day. You probably would not notice any results for a few months but over the course of a few years, the results would become undeniable.
We often chase expedience. We want what is new and sexy instead of the old tried and true ways. When you pursue building a process you are pursuing to do something the hard way and the right way. When we face that temptation to break our process and try the new sexy thing that’s around, that’s the mental friction inside us trying to play some mental gymnastics game with us.
We all want to be happy. Happiness isn’t something that we should pursue though because often we mix up what happiness and fulfillment are. The level of fulfillment that we get from accomplishing something that we worked hard on doesn’t compare to the immediate happiness we get from trying to fill a void.
The toxic pursuit of happiness can come in a variety of forms. Some people exercise themselves to the brink of death in the pursuit of happiness. Some people will consume addictive products that lead to poor health in the pursuit of happiness. The quick fix is never the answer and it never will be.