… and the Pursuit of Happiness


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The Declaration of Independence

I love this sentence. I quote it every time someone tells me that I need evidence for all my beliefs. But something else has struck me in this quote today. It’s the notion of the pursuit of Happiness. Everyone is supposed to pursue Happiness, right? What else should we be doing with our lives? Who doesn’t want to be happy? It’s self-evident, isn’t it? If I’m not happy with this goal, maybe I should do something else that would make me happy. But that would also constitute the pursuit of Happiness, wouldn’t it? There is no escape.

There is a problem, however. The idea that I should always pursue happiness implies that every moment of my life I am unhappy. My life is always lacking. I always need something. Something always needs to be improved. Otherwise, why would I pursue happiness? And this is the very idea that prevents me from being happy. This is a problem and I am not happy about it.

So, something needs to be changed. (Damn it.) And I propose to ditch the stupid idea of the incessant happiness pursuit. I’m not alone. It just came to my mind after watching the video below which someone shared on Facebook, probably, suffering a hangover after the Black Friday. It’s funny how a popular life coach and blogger Leo Babauta came from teaching people how to set their goals in 2007 to teaching them to set no goals in 2010. He must have figured something out in those three years of early morning meditations.

Will it make me happy? Probably not. But I wouldn’t care. And that’s pretty close.