These are strange times we live in. To a certain extent, life is almost too good.
You have time to think, to pursue your dreams.
Survival, in terms of the basic necessities, is almost guaranteed for you.
We have the luxury of wanting it all, we think we can have it all, so we pursuit it all.
It’s this pursuit of happiness that we’ve somehow convinced ourselves is the ultimate pursuit.
After all we are both entitled and have the right to be happy - right?
The thing is, you don’t have a right to be happy.
Nature doesn’t afford you any rights actually; the right to be happy is somehow the invention of man.
Not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, I’m just saying that’s the way it is.
So in essence, if happiness is your ultimate pursuit, then to a certain extent, you’ll need to earn it.
And to earn something, the laws of physics actually assert that you generally have to give something else up.
(See Newton’s third law – for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction).
In short, action and consequence is weaved into the very fabric of nature.
Resources are finite, your time itself is finite, and your energy is finite.
Now the very concept of happiness is itself quite abstract and to make matters more complicated, the definition itself is subjective and forever changing.
Are they moments of pleasure you’re after, or some deeper underlying feeling of contentment?
“Do what makes you happy” – what does that even mean?
How important is the pursuit of happiness anyway and what are you willing to give up to get there?
I would generally ask the question, that if you had to choose, what is more important to you, a life of meaning or a life of happiness?
Because a life of meaning generally means a life of responsibility.
Meaning is that thing that makes your life worth living.
Let’s be honest, looking after your kids isn’t always pleasant, but heck, it’s a great reason to wake up in morning and go to work.
Someone is depending on you – his or her very survival counts on you showing up.
My point is, sacrifice tends to be a dirty word – when it shouldn’t be
It’s a beautiful thing and it’s necessary.
It’s acknowledging that there is a greater good that transcends your personal desire to ‘be happy’ all the time.
What you value, your priorities and what you ultimately consider to be important exist in a hierarchy of sorts.
You need to pick and choose your way through life and hopefully those choices will bring those things that truly matter to the surface.
Those things, that at their very core, make life worth living.
For every choice you make, you’re choosing not to pursue something else.
You can probably have anything you want in life – but the reality is, you can’t have everything.
So, what are you willing to sacrifice?