Is Happiness Overrated?

Smile For Me
“Smile For Me”

Each morning I have to choose between two vitamins. One is a thick egg-shaped fish oil pill, the size of a small thumb. It’s supposed to help lower blood pressure. And the other is a sweet tasting chewy gummy multi-vitamin.

Can you guess which one I take more often?

The gummy vitamins! The fish oil is more important for me, but just the thought of swallowing that massive pill makes me feel nauseous.

This experience has me re-thinking my last post “Live Now; Not Later” where I tried making a case that we can “choose happiness.”

I have to adjust my thoughts on happiness and unicorns…

I still believe happiness is a choice we can make. And there are things we can do to increase happiness in our lives. But I made a mistake.

I forgot about the importance that struggles and discomfort have in our lives.

We all have struggles and challenges that come-and-go throughout our lives, right?  Then that means it’s impossible for us to “choose happiness” at all times.  We were not created for continual happiness. It doesn’t work.

So now I’m wondering whether happiness should be our main goal…

I was thinking about this while reading Jeff Goins latest book “The Art of Work”. I read (or listen) to about 20 books per year. Most are good, but once in a while there’s one that speaks to my soul and sends my life in a different trajectory. This is one of them! It’s an inspiring read filled with real-life examples from regular people who found their life’s calling, vocation, or greatest work.

I’m listening to it again and again!

Back to my post…

There’s a chapter where Goins argues that “happiness is overrated” because our personal growth, learning, and character come from our struggles. He’s absolutely right.

In my life, and yours too probably, the most important lessons have come after something like these:

  • overcoming some challenge
  • dealing with adversity
  • pushing past our comfort zones
  • doing something that makes us uncomfortable

In none of those examples, is there any mention of unicorns (happiness). Unless you’re intentional about learning from those experiences, you won’t even know that you missed out on something. I was talking to someone recently and without giving it too much thought I said,

“I turned my struggles into my strength.”

It’s true for me, and it’s true for you as well. We can all find strength in our struggles if we look for the lessons in those challenging experiences. I heard Joel Ostein say recently, “Don’t let your pain go to waste.” But to do this it means we’ll have to choose harder option which is the fish oil pills from time-to-time.

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