“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
For the longest time, I’ve always believed that there is only one purpose of life---- to be happy. Why else do we go through all the pain and hardships, right? It’s to achieve happiness in some way. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who believes that. In fact, if you look around you, most people are continuously pursuing happiness in their lives. We are who we are. Let’s just accept that. Most people love to analyze why people are not happy or why they don’t live fulfilling lives. I don’t particularly care about the why, as I care more about how we can change. Just a few short years ago, I did everything to chase happiness.
I bought material things, and I thought they will make me happy.
I engaged myself with people, and I thought that will make me happy.
I got into a well-paying job I thought I liked, and I thought that will make me happy.
I went on holiday trips, and I thought that will make me happy.
But at the end of those days, I ended up lying in my bed, and thinking: “What’s next in this endless pursuit of happiness?” Well, I can tell you what’s next based on my experience--- You, chasing something random that you believe will make you finally genuinely happy.
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” Happiness can’t be a goal in itself. Therefore, it’s not something that’s achievable.I believe that happiness is merely a by-product of usefulness.When I talk about this concept with friends, family, and colleagues, I always find it difficult to put this into words. But I’ll give it a try here.
Most things we do in life are just activities resulting to different experiences. You go on a fantastic holiday. You go to work to earn your keep. You go to a shopping spree. You have drinks with friends. You have a fancy dinner with your family. You buy your dream car.These things should make you happy, right? But they are not useful. You’re not creating anything. You’re just consuming or doing something. Don’t get me wrong, these things are great! I love to go on holidays, or go shopping sometimes. But to be honest, it’s not what gives meaning to life.
What really makes me happy is when I’m useful. When I create something that others can use, or even when I create something I can use.For the longest time I found it difficult to explain the concept of usefulness and happiness. But when I recently ran into a quote by the American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the dots finally connected.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
I didn’t quite get the logic behind this quote up until I became more conscious of what I’m doing with my life. I know such topic always sounds heavy and all, but it’s actually really simple.
It comes down to this: What are you DOING that’s making a difference?
Have you done any useful things in this lifetime? You don’t have to change the world or anything. Just make it a little bit better than before you were born.The last thing I want is to be on my deathbed and realize there’s zero evidence that I ever existed.Being useful is a mindset. And like with any mindset, it starts with a decision. One day I woke up and thought to myself: What am I doing for this world? The answer was nothing. On that same day I started writing. For you, it can be painting, creating a product, helping the elderly, or anything you feel like doing.
Don’t take it too seriously. Don’t overthink. Just DO something that’s useful. Anything.
Life is not about how to impress people. It’s about how we love and serve them at the same time. When we die, there are only two things that people will remember about you. How you served and inspired the ones you met along the way, and how you treated them. Being good is effortless for those who have the heart to serve and inspire. After all, the end of education is character. Character and attitude matter the most.
So, try to be useful and rest assured that finding happiness will not be far behind. I think whatever the circumstances maybe, always keep smiling. Always have the guts to be vulnerable. Try to be brave, go out and help others.
I’m Harold Garcia, and I believe that happiness is being useful.