We’ve all heard claims that happiness is the key to success, or health or a good sex life or whatever. Many books I’ve seen over the years have talked about what to do so you can be happy. In short, the philosophy is that A+B = happiness. In the absence of another approach, I believed this one. After years of diligent effort and certainty that this was the way to go, I realized it wasn’t working, but I didn’t know why. I questioned my approach - maybe I was doing something wrong. No, I was doing all the right stuff. Then I questioned my commitment - maybe I didn’t truly believe I could be happy. No, I was happier while conditions were right, and then things would change and I’d be unhappy again. Constantly trying to get the conditions right fed my desire for control, but it didn’t make me happier.
I now have some experience which confirms that A+B does not = happiness. That’s just not how it works. Why? Because true happiness is not an outcome, it’s the source. By its very nature, it is not quantifiable or achievable. So, if that’s true, then how do you get from stressed out and dissatisfied to a state of happiness? My answer: Stop striving! How do you do that?