February 22, 2018

Happiness is a Process Not a Destination

Have you ever read one of those articles on “The secrets to happiness” or “10 tips to finding happiness”? Most of them read as follows:

  1. What is happiness to you?
  2. Be around people that make you smile.
  3. Accept the good things in life!
  4. Be open to change.


These tips are good — if not great if you understand what happiness actually is.

Happiness isn’t a state of mind.

You don’t wake up at 6:45 AM fighting the traffic in the rain happy. It doesn’t matter how nice of a car you drive or how much you love your job, 9 times out of 10 that jackass in the truck that just cut you off is going to piss you off. And that’s ok. That’s the thing that I think is important to note when attempting to live a more happy life. It’s ok to feel something other then happy.

The real treasure of understanding what happiness is is that you stop chasing some esoteric philosophy that you have to reach for every morning when you take a shower. You just live your life and slowly creep toward it as all of us are.

We move toward it together and always as we continue our journey in life.

Here is the beginning exert from The Good Life and the Fully Functioning Person (1953) which inspired me to write this!

I have gradually come to one negative conclusion about the good life. It seems to me that the good life is not any fixed state. It is not, in my estimation, a state of virtue, or contentment, or nirvana, or happiness. It is not a condition in which the individual is adjusted or fulfilled or actualized. To use psychological terms, it is not a state of drive-reduction, or tension-reduction, or homeostasis.

The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination. The direction which constitutes the good life is that which is selected by the total organism, when there is psychological freedom to move in any direction. This organismically selected direction seems to have certain discernible qualities which appear to be the same in a wide variety of unique individuals.

The good life, from the point of view of my experience, is the process of movement in a direction which the human organism selects when it is inwardly free to move in any direction, and the general qualities of this selected direction appear to have a certain universality.

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