Happiness Doesn't Care How You Get There

Ernie Zelinski,101 Really Important Things You Already Know, But Keep Forgetting

In his work Nicomachean Ethics written in 350 B.C., Greek philosopher Aristotle claimed that happiness is the only thing that human desire for its own sake. People seek riches, not for the sake of being rich, but to be happy. Likewise, individuals desire fame, not for the sake of being famous, but because they believe fame will bring them happiness. According to Aristotle, the highest good for us is happiness, and that is why we desire and seek it.

As an experience and a subject, happiness has been pursued and commented on extensively since the dawn of history. This reflects the universal importance that humans have placed, and still place, on happiness. Of course, spiritual leaders, philosophers, psychologists, and economists have different notions on the nature of happiness and how to attain it.

One thing is certain: If you are to be happy and awaken to the beauty of the world around you, you must put your life in synch with your deepest values and beliefs. You must pursue what you truly want out of life and not what others want you to pursue. This is not an easy thing to do particularly in modern Western society, where we are subject to so many outside influences.

For instance, it is all too easy to get too intoxicated with the dream of what conventional success is going to do for your happiness. Yet conventional success and happiness are two entirely different things. Conventional success- a big house, a beach cabin, two or three fancy cars, an extremely attractive spouse, and a high- powered job- hardly serves any other purpose than to make life extremely difficulty for most people.

Erich Fromm in his book Escape from Freedom wrote, "Modern man lives under the illusion that he knows what he wants, while he actually wants what he is supposed to want." Indeed, in today's consumer society advertisers and the media dictate what people are supposed to want. Many people consume this programming greedily instead of stopping to question what will truly make them happy. After all, it is much easier to try to fit in with the majority than to question what the majority is doing.

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101 Really Important Things You Already Know but keep forgetting

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