Saturday, June 14, 2008

What Are Your Requirements for Happiness?

I’ve been lucky enough to have met, known and interacted with a bunch of different people and personalities over the years. One thing common to all of us is a desire to be “happy”. The most morose person I’ve ever encountered has longed for moments of happiness, even while staring at their black fingernails and listening to old Cure and Nine Inch Nails albums.

I’ve had my battles with depression over time, but I’ve recently relearned that one way I get in the way of my happiness is by having too many happiness pre-requisites. If you’ve ever had the following thoughts, you may know what I mean.

“If I don’t get a front row ticket to this play, it won’t be worth seeing.”
“I need to go to an Ivy, or Wharton for my MBA. or I’m screwed”
“I’d better get some ass when I go out tonight.”

In all these (hypothetical) examples, I’m placing the power and responsibility for my happiness in someone or something outside myself. That’s the same shit that’s got Joe Q. Public mired in debt with no hope of getting out while trying to keep up with the Joneses. So, to paraphrase Peter Gibbons from Office Space, “I uh, I don't like that habit, and, uh, I don't think I'm gonna do it anymore.”

There’s a parable that talks about all the extra steps people place between themselves and happiness. It’s called “The Fisherman and the Banker”. There’s no need to break out your crystals and patchouli, but the next time you have something troubling you, it may be good to ask yourself, “What are your requirements for happiness?

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