“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.” – Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence
This sentence holds a mythic quality in our society. We’ve heard, read it, said it countless times in our academic careers. It is a meme that has attained “Duh” status, it’s a foregone conclusion. So much so that we don’t give it a second thought.
As far as history is concerned there were some radical components to this statement. The self evidence of “created equal” and “unalienable rights” were truly novel. The right to your life and your liberty was not the matter of course it is today, nor for that matter was your pursuit of happiness, except that that’s all we really ever do and, even historically, all we’ve ever done.
See, our entire lives can be summed up as pursuits of happiness. Every choice we’ve ever made can be reduced to the simple, “Will this make me happy?”
At its core the only reason we do anything is because we believe it will make us happy. We’ll even suffer short term misery, if we believe in the end we’ll be happy.
Look at your life. Really look at it. Look at the things you’ve done that in retrospect you wonder why you ever did. What about that relationship you stayed in far longer than it was good for you? Sure, it made you miserable, but you stayed because you were certain that leaving would be more painful and maybe, just maybe, things would change and it would get better.
You didn’t stay because you loved the misery, you stayed because in that misery you saw a potential happiness.
Why do people make poor health decisions? Because the definite, short term happiness of immediate gratification outweighs in their minds a long term maybe.
If you’re wondering why I’m pointing out the obvious, it’s because its so obvious that most of us never pay it any attention.
You are so much more than your motivations and understanding your motivations allows you to work with them and use them to help achieve what it is you want out of life – you know, happiness.
Any goal you want to achieve, weight loss, money, a positive relationship can be had if you know how to see the happiness you seek in that goal. Understand, though, that the happiness does not reside in the goal or object itself. Getting that hot girl or guy in and of itself won’t make you happy, anymore than a Bentley or a Cartier watch will.
The happiness comes from within. Use your goals and the attainment of those goals to unleash the happiness inside you, but know if the enlightened among us can get there by doing nothing we can, too.
To your imperfect perfection,
P.S. Mental Meatheads is selling like crazy. Five highly motivated individuals have already reserved their spots. Don’t let yours slip away.