Are you happy? Really happy? Or does it seem like you spend your life chasing happiness? A wise man once said. “If you chase happiness, it will always be one step ahead of you, if you choose contentment, there is nowhere to run.” – Diogenes
I started blogging in 2011. At first, it was exciting. I was filled with hope about the possibilities that blogging held. I could be creative. I could write essays, poetry, and stories. I started chasing happiness through blogging. After the first year, the excitement and hope was replaced by something else: fear and discontent.
I discovered that blogging was more than just writing. It also included getting your message seen and heard. I did my research. I was bombarded with messages that reinforced my fear and discontent. According to the status quo, I’d never make it as a blogger unless I increased my traffic and grew my mailing list. I tried. The task seemed overwhelming. I almost quit. But something stopped me.
Are You Spending Your Life Chasing Happiness?
I started to reevaluate my reasons for blogging in the first place. I started to reconsider what it meant to be happy. I came to a few simple conclusions:
- Blogging is first personal, second professional.
- Happiness is insignificant and never guaranteed.
- Simplicity and contentment are intentional choices.
Have you ever noticed that most Americans define happiness based on their relationships and possessions? What if you had to strip those two things away? Would you still be happy? Perhaps. Or perhaps, that is where contentment fits into the picture. If happiness is something we have to achieve, we’ll find ourselves continually chasing happiness. We will never reach our goal. To be content, however, is entirely different.
Daniel Cordaro studies human emotions across cultures. Here’s what he has to say on the matter of happiness vs. contentment.
Are you one of the 7.2 billion people on this planet trying to cultivate well-being in life? If so, then again consider Diogenes’ cornerstone philosophy: People have the most, when they are most content with the least. What Diogenes is saying is that you should give up all of your possessions and live in a wine barrel. Kidding, kidding. What this means is that there is great peace in the present moment, when we’re not obsessing about conquering our world like Alexander the Great. Have you ever heard of a great warrior who completed all of their campaigns and lived happily ever after lying in the sun all day? Of course not, because all conquerors die in the middle of their quest; they alone created the desire for conquest. Once you have realized this in your life, you can sit for a moment and feel the emotion contentment, because you alone have created your wants and desires.
Here’s What I’ve Learned About Chasing Happiness
- I will never increase my happiness by increasing my blog traffic: Remaining present brings contentment. Being present as a blogger means writing in the moment without any concern for future success.
- I will never increase my happiness through possessions or relationships: I must be willing to be content with what I have and who I am in every present moment. Nothing I buy can increase my happiness. Love will not make me any more or less happy. Instead, I find contentment by accepting my present situation at all times.
- Contentment is a matter of choice: Instead of chasing happiness, I can choose to be content. This is one of the key points to the modern minimalist movement. If we live with less, we have less to distract us from contentment.
You don’t have to live like a monk to find contentment. You don’t have to give up all your possessions and live in a hut. You simply need to stay in the present moment, being content with each and every situation. It’s not always easy, but it is possible.
I’ve written a couple of ebooks that might help you: They’re free:
The Happiness of Simple: Making Connections Between Happiness, Simplicity & Productivity