The pursuit of happiness – a trap?

Dear Mr Jobs. I love your Stanford speech. No matter how many times I listen to it, it never disappoints to feed my seeking soul with inspiration and new insights. Thanks to you, I am doing what my heart desires and am hoping to see the dots connect in hindsight. You gave me the courage to live a life out-of-the-box and to keep on searching.

I left my job because I was unhappy.

Time and time again I was told to do what makes me happy. To follow my heart. To find my passion. And if only I would do what makes me happy I would find peace and the ultimate goal: happiness.

I bought the advice. And went on a soul-searching adventure for the past 4 years. I travelled the world, lived abroad, fell in love, took time for myself and for my passions. One could say I was on the biggest ego trip fulfilling all my dreams and wishes. Exciting and insightful times indeed.

But now, I feel as if I was back to zero. I am still asking myself the same questions. And slowly I am starting to question the pursuit of happiness as my life goal. Did the things I do make me happy? Yes, they did. But they failed to truly satisfy my soul. I do not feel fulfilled. I feel as if I had to go on the quest to seek happiness just to find out that happiness is not a state one can be in. Happiness is an outcome of a moment. Happiness vanishes like sand in your hand as soon as you thought you reached it.

I was fighting so hard to be free. To get out of the system and to get out of the rat-race. And now that I am I am wondering where to turn next.

However, my mindset feels as if it changed. My first priority is no longer to make myself happy. I am now seeking for meaning in my work. To find meaning will then hopefully bring about the change I am anticipating for such a long time. And what may or may not follow is happiness. But now I am aware that happiness is not at all a measurement of a fulfilled life. Happiness will come and go. What will stay is something you truly believe in. To give your best and channel your strength to reach your goal. A small contribution to making this world a better place.

Meaning is greater than happiness. Lesson learned.