Pursuing Happiness When It’s Already Within You

Pursuing Happiness When It’s Already Within You

By Leo Babautainner happiness

One of the key learnings I’ve had since starting Zen Habits is that everything I need to be happy is already within me.

I firmly believe that, but I’ve been asked a good question: if happiness comes from within, why should you pursue anything in life?

Why should you pursue goals, achieve anything, connect with others, exercise, eat good food … if you don’t need to do any of that to be happy? It’s a great question, and I’ll answer it with a simple exercise:

Let’s assume you don’t need to do any of that to be happy. You have happiness, from within, and you can go about your day and have just about anything happen and you’ll still be happy.

Now what? You can sit there and watch TV or do absolutely nothing, and you’ll be happy. Let’s call that Choice No. 1.

Or you can take actions to make others happy, to relieve their suffering, to see that they have the tools for happiness already. Focusing on the happiness of others is Choice No. 2.

Now, with either of these choices, you’ll be happy. You can do either, and it won’t necessarily affect your happiness. But with Choice No. 2, you’re increasing the happiness of the world.

I’d argue that Choice. No. 2 is better.

And this choice, to dedicate your time to helping others, relieving their suffering, making them happy … this is the motivation you can use for doing great things, for building something useful, for creating and working and being a good parent. It’s not about increasing your own happiness, but the happiness of others.


Leo BabautaZen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.

It also happens to be one of the Top 25 blogs and Top 50 websites in the world, with more than a million monthly readers, and is uncopyrighted. Zen Habits features a couple powerful articles a week on: simplicity, health & fitness, motivation and inspiration, frugality, family life, happiness, goals, getting great things done, and living in the moment.

My name is Leo Babauta, and I’m the creator and writer. I’m married with six kids, I live in San Francisco (previously on Guam), I’m a writer and a runner and a vegan.


 

6 comments

  1. I think when you have happiness within yourself you also just want to do good things. You don’t need to do good things to make yourself happy, but because you’re already happy you want to do good to make the world happier.

    Like

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