Everyone today is talking about achieving happiness. The Positive Psychology movement has reached an all time high. So maybe everyone should be chasing after happiness. This sounds natural.
The problem is, it’s not the complete right answer.
We all want to be happy, but sometimes it’s just not possible . . . yet. It’s a fact that suffering is inevitable and essential of life. Loved ones die, workers get fired from their jobs, random people acquire diseases, and mother nature destroys cities: suffering is everywhere.
However, we learn to cope, heal, and survive it all. We become stronger with others, and fortify our sense of self when we endure pain in our lives. And for many of us, we become more resilient, empathetic, and aware. Often, we become better people for having suffered!
We hope that our suffering in life is minimal and our happiness is abundant. But many people blindly chase their goals in the hopes that they will be successful if they achieve them. Of course, sometimes they’re wrong. Success doesn’t always guarantee happiness.
So what’s missing?
Though it’s difficult to take losses, we must be filled with hope and renewal instead of feeling empty and unhappy if we don’t succeed by conventional standards. We must see happiness and success differently. We must accept the good and bad in life. Success is the processes of self-mastery and what we contribute. In this manner, success is less selfish and more self-less. Part of building great character is realizing that it’s giving that makes us successful, not receiving or winning. Happiness then, is a byproduct of living a fulfilled life.
The pursuit of happiness is still worthwhile. But it must be tempered with the realistic and ethical aspects of true fulfillment. Being fulfilled creates a stronger character in our heroic journey through life. That’s what real success is.