Can You Really Buy Happiness?
[6 minute read]
Today we uncover the grey area around happiness. To many, the idea of happiness is what we all strive for, but unfortunately, we have lost a good meaning and reason for it.
Happiness comes from within. It is that feeling of contentment when you tell yourself that you are okay with how your life is. Could it be better? probably. Could it be worse? Hell yes. That is what you need to understand. Happiness is not a one time feeling, it is the overall state of being content with who, when, and where you are.
Therefore, the question of “can you buy happiness” is obviously a no. The real question, then, is whether or not we can synthesize happiness.
Even further, is our synthesized version of happiness actually effective?
This is where my next point comes in:
We Buy Pleasure, AKA: Short Term Happiness
Let’s make a story up.
First, think of a character. For the sake of a non-bias sexual orientation or identification, we’ll name them Jamie. I will alternate gender to be fair.
Jamie, unfortunately, is not happy with how his life is going at the moment. She is in an unhealthy relationship, has a physically exhausting job, and has many other battles that he faces every day.
So, she goes to a strip club.
For him, he thinks that this is happiness. She spends her hard earned money on a 20 minute lap-dance and eventually makes his way home.
Now begs the question. Did this experience buy him happiness?
Some would say “no, of course this didn’t buy happiness, he just synthesized it.”
My view is that he was able to Buy Pleasure.
While this may be the most explicit and easy to understand case, we view this same phenomenon every single day. Going out for a fancy dinner when you know that you shouldn’t be spending that kind of money on a filet mignon? That’s buying pleasure. Working 50 weeks out of the year just to go on a 2 week vacation to Hawaii? Pleasure. Absolutely drooling over that Louis Vuitton bag that Celine Dion was seen wearing? Pleasure. (Related: Why You SHOULD Be Awkward)
Okay Stop Rubbing it in
I’m not telling you to stop everything that you’re doing and be a complete hippy and run off to the hills. Trust me, I will be the first one to purchase a Lamborghini when the right pay-check comes rolling in.
The danger is that we have become accustom to using pleasure as a definition and example of happiness. This is wrong.
Your $3,500 purse will not stop your best friend from getting severely ill. Your expensive wines will never replace the distaste you have towards your job. This is where the core difference between pleasure and happiness kicks in.
As mentioned before, happiness is not a one time feeling, it is the overall state of being content with who, when, and where you are.
Pleasure is a one time feeling. While the feeling of contentment are very similar to that of happiness, it is only temporary.
In fact, if we keep buying pleasure to reach new social, economic, or physical highs, we may fall back into deeper lows.
Being happy is about telling yourself that you may not be the prettiest, you might not be the richest, you might not be the smartest, and you might not have the fanciest car, but you do have the most important thing of all. Life.
Here are my top 3 books on happiness:
- The Happiness Equation – Neil Pasricha BUY HERE
- You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero BUY HERE
- The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor BUY HERE