Pursuit of Strength for Happiness

Is happiness a good goal?

Chasing happiness is the equivalent to wishing for every day to be sunny. It’s not practical as a goal. When we say we “want to be happy”, what does that even mean?  Happiness is a feeling. We have no control over feelings. They are a response to an uncontrolled outcome good or bad. Using that model involves hope, well wishing, and in general a lot of luck. And that’s bullshit. What we want is for things to go in our favor. How do we increase the chances of that? We make strength the goal, and happiness comes as a byproduct. The concept of strength here is strength as a whole, and defined as: the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure. The more we can withstand and effectively maneuver around life’s obstacles, the better off we are. That looks different in many ways. It could be physical fitness for better health, well being and confidence. It could be resilience by actively being critical of ourselves, asking the hard questions, and adjusting if need be. It could be learning patience to understand that people come from different backgrounds in life and their perspectives may be different. It could be the pursuit of more knowledge about the world we inhabit. Learning new skills, a system of creation, membership in a new club, new personal bests, dealing with difficult people more effectively all bring levels of satisfaction and happiness. The goal of none of those things is happiness. The goal is improvement, and happiness comes when that is attained. In stillness there is only weakness, death, and eventual obscurity. We need to constantly challenge ourselves to actually DO more. The act of validating someone else is what they will always remember, and may help more than we’ll ever know. That person may one day be in a dark place, and in their worst moments, they may remember the time that someone actually gave enough of a fuck about them to do something. This is as simple as checking in on them and having a chat or getting out and doing something together. The act of self-improvement even when we don’t think people are watching works two-fold. We get the benefit ourselves, and others will rise to challenge themselves as well. This is great because it makes the entire team stronger in the most positive way possible. The act of focus in an age where we are constantly being bombarded with so many distractions. Our minds wander. We’ve got the attention span of a housefly. Want to have less problems with people? Then actually pay attention and ask questions. We will learn that people generally aren’t out to get us, they are just out for their own best interests. This creates less stress in knowing this, and leads to better angles to communicate from. Pay attention to behaviors. Apply different tactics when we get frustrated. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s important to think about why afterward. Strength isn’t all given once like a magic power. It’s built up, in many areas and aspects every day. It needs to be pressure tested and proven. There are many things out of our control, but there are quite a few that we can influence more in our favor. With more knowledge and more ability, we give ourselves those small percentage points that work in our favor every day. We’re all running on limited time, and so every day matters. What is the goal for improvement today?

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