Don’t make the goal happiness.
If you make happiness the goal, then you will only find yourself futilely chasing it all the time, like chasing a butterfly. You will wear yourself out. You will become confused. You will become frustrated.
Instead, make the goal avoiding unhappiness.
Sit still long enough in a garden and a butterfly will come land on your shoulder. Avoiding unhappiness does that for you. It allows you to sit still long enough until a butterfly comes fluttering along.
Consider these two virtues:
Avoiding unhappiness is easy: We generally know and understand the things in our lives making us unhappy.
(Conversely, we rarely seem to know what might make us happy. For instance, we believe a relationship with a certain person will make us happy only to find out later to the contrary, or to find ourselves crushed by rejection.)
Avoiding unhappiness is humble: We don’t create any false expectations or place unrealistic demands upon ourselves. We stay within our means.
Important! Avoiding unhappiness does not mean running away. It is not a philosophy for the recluse or the cowardly. Rather, to avoid unhappiness, one must solve problems or improve conditions. One must mend fences.
Be humble. Start solving, improving, mending what you know and understand is causing you to be unhappy. Don’t make happiness the goal. Instead, let the butterfly come to you.
You can do it.
This article was written by Campbell Venn