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Why Happiness Isn’t the Goal

When we aim for happiness, we aim for a state of pleasure or satisfaction. We chase an emotional feeling. A never-ending moving target.

If we aim for happiness in our career, the emotional swings of unhappiness would carry us away from unhappy situations. We would constantly seek a more pleasurable environment, boss, role, compensation package or team. The comparison game would rule the day, and our resume would look like a novel.

If we aim for happiness in relationships, we bypass the discomfort of persevering through challenging seasons where growth actually occurs, in favor of an ever-fleeting happy place. We would throw loyalty out the window to pursue our perpetually thirsty happy drive.

If we aim for happiness, what we get instead is an unstable, self-centered, inconsistent lifestyle that’s always looking for something happier.

Aim instead for contentment.

Contentment is a deeper level of joy that isn’t dependent on circumstances. It doesn’t shy away from challenges, but presses through with courage (this excludes dangerous situations of course). Contentment prioritizes commitment, and infuses stability and strength while exercising the consistent conviction of what is right. Contentment weathers storms. Contentment is a practice.

Aim for happiness, and prepare to receive the opposite. Aim for contentment instead — it lasts.
Dave Goldfain

Cereal Founder & CMO

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