Is Happiness the Ultimate Goal in Life?Aug 02, 2022
Many people believe we should strive to be happy at all times; thus, happiness is the ultimate goal of life. However, others may argue that there is more to life than just being happy. This blog post will explore the idea of happiness and discuss whether or not it is the ultimate goal in life.
What are we striving for in life?
As human beings, we need to look forward to something to get motivated in life. It can be a desire to buy something that we want, fulfill a goal that matters to us, or achieve an ideal state in the future where we feel calm and fulfilled. There can be many things we want in life, but a common factor among many is that they are things we want to attain or achieve in the future. The most common reason why we want to achieve such things is that we want to be happy. So, achieving happiness can be said to be the ultimate goal in life. No matter what we want to do or pursue, happiness seems to be the most significant factor in why we do things. However, there is some problem when we keep attaching happiness to a future obtainable state, object, or event.
Happiness is a state of mind.
To be happy is an emotional state, and an emotional state is something that doesn't last forever. So you can be satisfied one fine day, but your happiness may disappear after a while. After that, you revert to a neutral or another emotional state, depending on what's happening in your life. Most people want to attain happiness because they may think that once they obtain it, they won't feel sad or angry anymore. It's an idea of perfect and pure happiness. However, in our world, achieving such a state is impossible. One can't be happy their entire life as human life is rife with challenges, failures, and problems. If your idea of a happy life is when these things are absent, you are only setting yourself for disappointment.
Attaching happiness to an external factor is not equal to true happiness. We like to think that we'll be happy once something occurs in our lives, hence why we like to think of happiness as our goal in life. There are several examples of this, such as thinking you will be happy when:
- You get married.
- You buy that thing you have always wanted.
- You experience a particular event, such as graduating from school, traveling to a different country, establishing your business, or retiring from your job.
- You have achieved your goals.
- You have finally solved all your problems.
You can experience a different high when you achieve such meaningful events in your life. You can fondly remember these moments as highlights of your life. However, the emotional high you experience will wane over time. If one's idea of happiness is equal to the emotional high you experience after achieving such things, then you won't be as happy when you remember them later. So what does one do? Look for the next big thing that can give you that high, and the cycle repeats.
The relation of time to happiness
We now know that happiness is an emotional state. It's something that lasts for a particular time. So identifying your idea of happiness with time can help you understand when we say that happiness is not the ultimate goal in life. For some people, happiness is like a burst of intense pleasure and satisfaction while experiencing certain things or achieving something. A good example is when people are having a good time, smiling and laughing during parties and celebrations. It can also be in the form of feeling like you are on cloud nine after attaining or completing a goal. For this type of happiness, time is relatively short. It can last several minutes, hours, or days but eventually fades. So people with this idea of happiness will look for the next thing that can let them experience another burst of happiness, which may take some time because life can't always be eventful.
And then, there's the long-term happiness. But, again, we don't mean this as a state where you're constantly smiling and jumping for joy. Instead, long-term happiness is when you can sustain the state of being happy for an extended period without depending on external factors to trigger it. Sure enough, this type of happiness still exists in short bursts, but you regain it quickly since you don't depend on momentous events to be happy. An excellent example of this is people who are capable of appreciating the present moment. They don't need to worry too much about the future to be happy. Instead, they are capable of appreciating small things in their lives and can trigger happiness from the inside. Time is relatively long for this type of happiness. When one connects all the multiple bouts of joy each day, it will look like a continuous stream of happiness, and you can say that generally, you have a happy life. Having this type of happiness makes it easier to accept the idea that happiness is not the ultimate goal in life. If obtaining happiness is not the ultimate goal of life, what is it then?
Fulfillment and meaning are the ultimate goals of life.
Life's meaning differs for every person. There's no absolute answer to it. Instead, it's up to us to create meaning in our lives, which can be life's ultimate goal. Meaning is achieved when we identify and do the things that give us fulfillment and satisfaction upon accomplishing them. Happiness is a by-product of figuring out our ultimate purpose and doing fulfilling things. It's very reassuring when you know your life's purpose and what to do in life.
Happiness is a choice. However we want to view it, it's up to us to create the conditions that can make us happy. We can choose to be happy even when bad things happen in our lives. However, your life doesn't stop once you are happy. It continues, and what can make it easier to go on is by figuring out your ultimate purpose in life, the things that give you the most satisfaction and fulfillment. And when you can figure out such things in your life, happiness will be there, tagging along with you.