The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase; if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.– C.P. Snow
This is following the happiness quote I wrote about last week. Like the last quote, this too is quite a curious one. It talks about the mysterious nature of concepts like happiness where the more we run behind it, the less it is in our reach.
Now, I am a fan of the movie The Pursuit of Happyness and I have recommended it to many a friend and family. In the movie, Chris Gardner finds his happiness after a long and tough pursuit. The question is if he really found it. Sure, he got the job he wanted so much and started making big money. He also had a son whom he cared about and was very much loved for it. Anyone would say that this is enough for happiness; and I agree. I am just not sure how long this would last.
It is a human tendency to want more things no matter what you have. The proverb “Grass is greener on the other side” is a testament to this. Taking the example of the same movie; earlier, Chris Gardner found happiness in buying into the Osteo National bone-density scanners. We see him loading and unloading the scanners along with his wife and he even asked the landlord to take their picture. In a short time, he is unhappy with this investment and his wife leaves him. He was happy but in some time, he wanted more.
It might as well be that Chris Gardner was finally happy with the job and founding of his own multi-million dollar brokerage firm; however, stories like these are a rarity. It needs a person who knows what he wants and can concentrate on his goal without being side-tracked into other pursuits. Next, when he reaches where he wanted to be, he knows that he has to live in the moment and start to concentrate on things that are essential to his happiness (family, friends, etc…)
There is a contradiction now. If the person could live in the moment in a reasonable place, he would be happy where he was and wouldn’t have to go anywhere else. Of course, he can pursue any activity he wants and go anywhere but his happiness wouldn’t depend on it. He is already happy and will stay so wherever he goes.
I am not saying that a person shouldn’t engage in activities that make him happy. On the contrary, I am saying always be happy with whatever you are doing or want to do. I follow this very close to heart. I am an entrepreneur for this very reason. All I am saying is not to fool yourself in thinking that you would only be happy if you accomplish a particular thing. You can be happy now!
In a post titled ‘Are you a pirate?‘, Michael Arrington writes: Entrepreneurs, though, are all screwed up. They don’t need to be rewarded for risk, because they actually get utility out of risk itself. In other words, they like adventure. These are the sort of people that are always happy no matter where they are and live the life of adventure. They always pursue happiness but not by running behind it, but by running with it.