For a while, people were obsessed with happiness.
Live in the present. Meditate. Practice yoga. Pray to God. Read a bunch of self-help, so we can optimize our lifestyle for maximum happiness.
“I just wanna be happy, man.”
But everyone seems to be snapping out of this happiness-trance lately. Look at all these articles telling you not to chase happiness:
To be fair, most of what they say is true.
If you chase happiness, you force yourself to be positive all the time. You start to have unrealistic expectations about how happy you’re supposed to be. You become self-centered. You start ignoring other people and become lonelier, because you only care about your own feelings. And worse, you get disappointed if you don’t feel happy. That only makes you even more unhappy.
It seems like this race to eternal happiness is, too, another fantasy that will never come true.
But I don’t agree that you should stop chasing happiness. You should. With all your heart – even if it is illusory and short-fleeting.
How I Failed Miserably in My Journey To Happiness
When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t know what to do with life. I didn’t have any direction. I didn’t have any purpose. And that lack of direction, combined with the expectations I had with myself, overwhelmed me. I was twitchy, nervous and stressed all the time.
I was scared to move forward, but I was also scared to stay the same.
And of course, it wasn’t only my personal problems that stressed me. My relationships, my family, and my social life all contributed to my stress.
I wanted to escape. I wanted to live life like a teenager again – no responsibilities, just have fun and enjoy life. But it was not to be.
To find happiness, I turned to spirituality, like many people in their twenties do. I was born into a Buddhist family, but I never practiced it. And for the first time in my life, I opened a Buddhist sutra, and started reading.
From then on, I studied and practiced a lot of spirituality teachings. Not only did I study Buddhism, but also Christianity, Taoism, Stoicism, New Age, and so on.
And with that, I also got into self-improvement. I read a lot of books. I began working out. I learned to play music. I learned foreign languages. I learned to write.
I wanted to be the best version of myself. And I was close to living that life of my dreams. I was becoming the man that I always wanted to become. I thought I would finally be happy.
But guess what? I failed.
Here’s What Happiness Really Is
All these years, I put so much effort into chasing happiness. I thought I was bulletproof. I thought I was close to enlightenment.
Then I was met with a failed career. A problematic relationship. My grandmother was dead. My friend broke his spine falling off a building (he was paralyzed).
When everything is crumbling down, all spiritual knowledge, all self-improvement tips in the world wouldn’t help you. You have no choice but to grief and to mourn.
And that’s when I realized happiness is not eternal. Life is unpredictable. There is a time to be happy, and a time to be sad.
Hate to break it to you, but no one can ever reach enlightenment. That is, the state of permanent happiness.
No matter how much we do, we are still human beings. Happiness is ephemeral. Our emotions and thoughts are always changing, interacting, and being influenced by the outside world.
And the glorified gurus? Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sadhguru, Osho, Byron Katie…they are all just human beings like you and me. They will cry when they lose the people they love. They will feel pain when they bleed. They will be disappointed if all their fame and money is taken away from them.
Happiness is but an illusion. I even wrote about it before. It’s just a good mood that doesn’t last.
The True Reward of the Chase
Still, I am glad that I chased happiness. Because the meaning of the chase is not about getting to happiness at all. It is about the journey that you go through.
And in my journey to happiness, I accomplished a lot inwardly and outwardly.
Inwardly, I learned to manage my thoughts. I learned to hijack my emotions. I conquered my fears. I learned to love and forgive myself. I learned to push myself to do the right thing, even if I don’t want to.
Outwardly, I gained a lot of knowledge that could never be taken away from me. My body is stronger and healthier. I can communicate with people from different countries. I learned to money to support myself.
And best of all, I learned to write. By writing this article, I am leaving behind a legacy.
If I hadn’t chased happiness, I wouldn’t have achieved anything.
Truth be told, not many people are willing to go through all that trouble to improve themselves.
But they would, if they have something to go after. If they want to find happiness.
Run Toward That Light
So don’t let people tell you otherwise. If you want to be happy, chase happiness.
That is, even if the triumph of accomplishment is fleeting. Even if the peace that meditation offers you is short-living. Even if you know sadness will never go away.
The chase to happiness is not an easy walk – reading a pile of spiritual books, sitting through boring meditation sessions, managing your thoughts 24/7, lifting weights, studying a new language, losing money, and dealing with writer’s block day after day…
But after all that work you put into the chase, you will come out a better, and stronger person. You will have a tale worth telling. You will leave behind a legacy.
Success is meaningless. Happiness is fleeting. Life is suffering. We all know that.
But this isn’t an excuse to stop trying, and to stop going for what you want. Live a life without regrets. Leave no stone unturned. Because the sense of fulfillment that comes with it might even be more satisfying than happiness itself.
Now, imagine this.
You are lost in the middle of a cold, dark forest. You are afraid. You are shaking. You heard the growls of beasts from afar.
But as you lift your head up, you see a lighthouse, its light tearing through the night sky. A glimpse of hope. A faint promise to safety.
You don’t know if this is the salvation you have been looking for. All you know is that if you surrender to the darkness, you will be trapped here, forever.
Go, and run toward that light. Even if it is not the answer, it might lead you to a paradise you have never known before.
What To Do Next
If you want to start chasing happiness, here is the good news:
I have written a super-detailed and step-by-step guide on meditation. Even better, you can download it right now for free.
This free guide has more and better information than most of the meditation books on the market, including those that sell at a premium price.
Take a look at it, and you will know more about mindfulness than most people in no time.
Otherwise, I wish you luck on your journey to wisdom and happiness.