Being happy. Part 1.
Thoughts of a young mid-class man from a development country.
So, first of all: I’m not rich. But, do I want to?
I’m neither as fast as Bolt, as talented as Messi, as handsome as Beckham or as wealthy as Trump. I’m not as good as Dalai Lama or Teresa de Calcuta, but I’m no Hitler neither. I think I’m intelligent, but really not Nobel Prize-intelligent. On the other hand, I’m not homeless, I’m not the ugliest person on earth and I live neither on the richest or poorest country in the world. Not even the warmest or coldest city. In that sense I believe I’m just as average as the other 99% of the people in the world.
As any other guy, I’ve always wondered what’s our goal in life, why was I born into this family? in this century? or even in this city? I don’t have an answer for any of those questions.
What I believe, is that as a human, we have certain universal values coded in our genes. It doesn’t matter if you are a Catholic, Jew, atheist or Muslim. You just feel good when you do nice things and you feel bad if you don’t or you do the opposite. If I help an old lady cross the Street, it feels good. But if I take money from a friend’s wallet it doesn’t. I like feeling good. I don’t think life is meant for us to feel bad. So I guess the ultimate goal is to be happy.
We don’t need to ask to many people to find they’ve come to the same conclusion. Even the ones that don’t, will provide a similar answer like: health, love, wealth, etc. However, I think people search love or health because that makes them happy. If it didn’t they wouldn’t search for it. So at the end, those are the means they have found to be happy, or the values that represent the most happiness for them.
However, I don’t mean happiness in a hedonistic way, or to put our happiness above others. Some can say that sacrifice is good, because by sacrificing ourselves we can help other people. In that way the happiness found in helping others above our immediate hedonistic happiness is larger. In any case, we are still looking for it. We just found that immediate happiness is not really the type of happiness we want.
We want a more fulfilling happiness. Eating a hamburger can make you happy. But for some people it can be depressing to have eaten a burger if they were looking to drop some weight since it may represent a failure in trying to achieve this goal. The same can be said about exercise. Nobody likes to wake up early with an alarm. While doing certain routines you may have exhaustion, or feel bad, or get some pain. However, you get a sense of fulfillment at the end. You get happier doing exercise than not doing it.
So, wrapping it up. We all look to be happy, but we are constantly looking for things that make us happy, and in that path there can be things that gives us more happiness than other. There are things that may give us immediate placer but not long-lasting feeling, while things that are supposed to make us happy may seem that are not worth the sacrifice. We are constantly weighing them and making conscious and subconscious decisions.
So, what’s the goal? Is it to be have money? Is it to be successful? Or you just want to be considered successful to feel happy? Is it being successful that make us happy? Is being happy the ultimate success?
I think most of the people by now would agree that their ultimate goal is to be happy, even tough it’s difficult to see the correlation, if any, between things that we assign a value to such as love, money, work, sex, kindness, happiness, health, family, acknowledgment or success.
In a following post I’m getting deeper into the subject and try to answer from my perspective questions like: how we can find happiness? Are we going to be searching until we find it? Well, happiness is not a goal you reach. Happiness is a continuous state. Our goal is to be constantly happy. We’ll get into that later.
For now, I just hope that these thoughts can help you stop and think for a minute.