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.

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2 thoughts on “The pursuit of happiness – a trap?

  1. Valeska,

    What a great post! I can totally identify with you. I feel sometimes we confuse “pleasure” with “bliss”. I think moments of peasure are short, fleeting and void of true meaning. I have found that feelings of bliss however, often come after long periods of sacrifing and working hard toward meaningful goals that help others. When you know you did something meaningful, something great that is of value to others, and that is a much more powerful, longer-lasting satisfaction than any temporary pleasure. Maybe your journey was seeking pleasure, but now you’ve realized, bliss is the true target! Hope all is well!

    -Alex from Salzburg 🙂

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