Key Takeaway #1: How to Experience Genuine Happiness
Pursuing happiness is an integral part of the human condition. But a majority of the population goes about it the wrong way. We commonly equate happiness to pleasure. But finding and experiencing happiness is not about how much pleasure we can have, rather it’s about how much pain we can endure.
We humans are driven to avoid pain and seek pleasure. But pain plays a crucial role in our lives. Instead of trying to escape pain whenever we can, we must confront it.
Pain is inevitable, and we must think of it as a teacher that helps us distinguish between the right and the wrong and instructs us on what to avoid or pay attention to in order to have a better future.
Think about it. The pain that you feel when you are deep in consumer debt and on the verge of bankruptcy teaches you to be wiser and cautious in your financial decisions in the future. The pain of a heartbreak or the loss of a relationship guides you to be more mature and careful in your future relationships.
Pain is a constant part of life, and instead of running away from it, we must use it as a fuel to better ourselves. Genuine happiness doesn’t come from pleasurable experiences; it comes from finding real, potent solutions to the painful problems that we encounter in life. In simple words, problem-solving breeds happiness.
Instead of avoiding problems, it’s much better for the long-term if we face them head on, get to their root causes and figure out solutions. So, in the pursuit of happiness, we must not ask, “What kind of life do I want to live?” , but rather we must ponder upon, “What struggles do I want to bring in my life and what problems do I love solving?”
While we can’t choose a painless life, we can always choose our struggles and wholeheartedly engage in pursuits and endeavors that bring the most fulfillment to us. As Jim Carrey remarked, “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love.”
It’s akin to climbing El Capitan without a rope like Alex Honnold — you’re not climbing it because you want to get on the top and enjoy the view. You’re doing it because you are pursuing your life-long dream, and you’re getting some thrill and excitement out of the climb itself that makes the excruciating ascent totally worth it!