The Insufferable Pursuit Of Happiness

By default, in our pursuit of happiness are we inevitably inviting more stress into our lives?

Nicky Cullen
Dec 29, 2016 · 11 min read

What about OUR Governments:

We know the majority of governments don’t want us happy; they want us broke, in debt, and at their mercy. They aren’t fooling anyone but for some reason we still conform to the social norms passed down by them. Why? Because our fear of breaking the mould has been deeply ingrained in our consciousness from the day we hatched, and some thousands of years prior to that when it was essential for our very existence to fit in, and avoid being the first line of defense against some pissed off Grizzly Bears.

Pretty much sums it up!

Enter technology:

Technology is a glorious mind fuck that enriches our lives in so many ways. For better or worse, it’s here to stay. Human evolution simply can’t keep up. Back in the stone age, we had thousands of years to figure out all we could do with rocks: namely death by stoning and igniting some fire. Today, every morning we wake up to 20 something IOS updates on our phones by companies who’s mission is to make the world a better place.

Let me tell you about Paul:

Paul wakes up everyday stressed before he rushes out the door to a job he can’t stand for eight hours or more. Following that, he goes to the gym (which he hates) to acquire some muscle. Paul arrives home around 8 pm, has dinner, and finally, makes his way to the couch for his daily dose of Netflix. At approx. 11 pm, he reluctantly tips off to bed terrified at the thought of hitting the repeat button in the morning. Finally, Friday. Paul heads straight to the bar with friends to celebrate making it through the week without punching someone in the face before waking up the next day hungover, dreading the fact that another week is imminent.

Paul’s story is particularly worrisome because a day turns into a week, a week turns into a year, and a year turns into a lifetime. Where’s the Government Health Warning? Before you know it, life has passed you by unless you take a stand, and start creating life on your terms. No, this doesn’t necessarily mean telling your boss where to go and start living off the land. But, it does mean reprioritizing that which is important to you: aligning your fucks so to speak. Life is short; it’s a gift — treat it accordingly.

“Everything we do in life is a choice. Unfortunately, most of our choices are counter-productive to what it is to be healthy because nothing is worse for our health than stress. Success does not create happiness — happiness is success.

Happiness misunderstood:

Forget about being surrounded by loved ones. In a recent study, 80% of millennials said a life goal was to be rich. Millennials grew up in a world where money was plentiful. We (I just make the cut) also bore witness to the greatest economic collapse in history ensuring we will be the first ever generation to not out-earn our parents. Sucks for all I think you’ll agree. However, we can be the first generation to heed the lessons from our predecessors mistakes and pave the way for future generations to live a happier more fulfilled life.

So what brings us happiness:

It’s important to re-iterate that happiness is an emotion, and therefore impossible to obtain on a permanent basis. In fact, screw happiness. Contentment is a far better word as it’s much easier to attain. The objective should be to tip the scales in favour of more positive emotions. Allow me to offer up a brief synopses to save you the trouble of reading 80,000 books;

Removing yourself from that which makes you unhappy:

Intuitively, we know the way we currently live our lives doesn’t exactly allow for happiness to flourish. Have you ever stopped to think about all the ways in which you create unhappiness in your life? All you have to do is pay attention to the physical sensations in your body. When you are around great people and doing stuff you love — you’re at ease, and your body is relaxed. When you are around negative people or partaking in activities you can’t stand — your body is tense and stressed out. Heaven slash Hell.

Back to relationships:

By far and away the most complex and challenging, that which is important is rarely easy. As great as some relationships are, others can be extremely toxic. You will have people in your life that are sinister and condescending towards you for a multitude of reasons that shouldn’t concern you as it’s a poor reflection of them, not you. You also have those that have your best intentions at heart, but their actions lead you to believe otherwise. Not an area of your life you want to tip-toe around. It’s important to address all that isn’t working out for you, and in all likelihood, engage in a social cleanse.

The Social Cleanse:

Consider this: you have three types of people in your life — positive peeps, neutral peeps, and negative peeps. Each and every peep plays a pivotal role in your life.

Finally. Career:

Hate your job? You have a choice; you can do something about it or continue to be pissed off. I recommend the former. Don’t let an awkward conversation or the pain of a job search be the reason you remain miserable. There are endless options out there. I’ve worked with a few people who’ve had a conversation with their boss about their anxiety, and specific parts of the job they found to be particularly stressful, and guess what? It was one of the best conversations they’ve ever had. Employers are becoming far more understanding so why not initiate the conversation? It’s not their job to come up with a solution, so be sure to present one to them. In all likelihood, unless they’re a real class act or your request is outrageous, they will give it the consideration it deserves. In fact, you’ll be helping them become a better leader so you could say you’re doing them a favour. But maybe don’t say that! Just initiating the conversation can be incredibly liberating, and if the response is unfavourable, you can always move on to option B. Quit, and work elsewhere.


Everybody appears to be chasing happiness while paying little attention to all that causes them unhappiness. It’s easy to pursue something, but it’s not necessarily easy to attain; especially when we don’t know what we’re searching for. Why is it easier? Well, it’s not, but we’re conditioned to chase and continuously give more of ourselves. Our minds become over stimulated, and we suffer from mental exhaustion while throwing ourselves down every possible path. All for The Insufferable Pursuit of Happiness.


If you struggle with anxiety and are looking for greater peace of mind, subscribe below for free access to the anti-anxiety micro-course covering 5 fundamentals for a better life. I’ll also send you a copy of my book!

The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

Nicky Cullen

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A lot of people struggle greatly with anxiety. I used to be one of them. Now I help others fast-track their recovery. Find out more @

The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.