The Pursuit of Happiness

The title of this post is one with which we’re all familiar. After all, that’s what life is about, right?

We work, we grind, we sacrifice, and we compromise – all with the intention of reaching a point where we can sit back, relax, and say “it was all worth it.”

But do we ever really obtain that goal? Will any of us ever truly be able to come up for air and be content with the position we’ve reached in life? Personally, I have absolutely no idea. That said, I would argue that there’s a certain intrigue and appreciation to the uncertainty – and it makes the journey that much more exciting.

Having aspirations and things to work toward provides a sense of purpose for what is an otherwise chaotic and seemingly random existence, in my humble opinion. We spend so much time asking ourselves what the meaning of all this could be – what are we supposed to do with these lives of ours? Ultimately, I think the answer to that existential question is simple: achieve happiness. Everything we do in life should essentially contribute to creating a fulfilling, happy existence.

I think we lose sight of this far too often. At least I know I certainly do. We get so caught up in day to day stresses and expectations that we focus more on that than we do our own happiness. When I experience these kinds of things – financial pressure, relationship problems, career deadlines – I try to constantly remind myself of the bigger picture. Is it really worth the anxiety? Are these life obstacles more important than my own happiness? Frankly, no – they aren’t. And when I successfully remind myself of this, my focus returns to its right track and my conscience rests in a calm, relaxing solace.

Sadly, and this is something I mention a lot in my writing, but I never thought of things this way until my mother passed away. Death, as the saying goes, changes you. Losing a cherished friend or relative can impact you in a way that no other experience could. I’ve no doubt that many of you can attest to this – that total shift in priorities, personal values, and beliefs. I wish it hadn’t taken the loss of my mother for me to finally realize this, but I’m grateful she had that impact on me nonetheless. It both saddens and inspires me that even in death, she was my most powerful influence.

I end with this: anytime you find yourself in a rut, having a bad day, or feel like you’re drowning in worldly struggles; try to remind yourself of what’s truly relevant in life. Focus on the things that generate happiness.

A positive mentality can change your world, if only you let it.

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