Pleasure vs. Happiness – Part 1

Why do so many people equate money with happiness? It just doesn’t add up when you hold that theory up to scrutiny. It seems to me that a more reasonable theory would be: Money causes unhappiness. People are constantly fighting over money. People often get divorced because of money. Money rules people’s lives and often brings out the worst in them. When someone dies and there is money to be inherited, relatives that got along fine for years suddenly become bitter enemies.

How many times have you heard someone refer to their college years as the best time of their lives? The last time I checked, there were not an abundance of millionaire college students running around our nation’s campuses. Acquiring money is a lot like reaching that next plateau on the material ladder of success. You have all these expectations for the happiness you will receive when you reach the next tax bracket, but when you get there, you find out that as far as happiness is concerned, it isn’t much different.

After this, you strive to get into the next bracket and the next and the next with very similar results. Some people even feel more depressed, because in addition to not being any happier, they feel guilty because they believe that they are supposed to be happier when they have a lot of money. This treadmill way of living becomes a never-ending obsession for some people and they sadly spend the rest of their lives on it.

I think the root of this problem lies in one simple misconception. Most people mistakenly equate pleasure with happiness. Money can indeed buy you a great deal of pleasure. However, pleasure has very little to do with happiness. Pleasure comes from the enjoyment of something. It is gratifying while it is going on, but wears off gradually once the stimuli are removed. Going to the opera or a football game or eating fine foods may give you pleasure, but the pleasure diminishes once you are done.

Pleasures often have hidden costs associated with them that are not just monetary. A spouse may have an affair that is very pleasurable. However, that pleasure often comes with a high emotional and monetary price. It strikes right at the very core of who you are at the expense of your own integrity. This may not be apparent initially, but you can be sure that it will come back to haunt you. It may cost you in the form of stress and guilt as well. The pleasure will usually cover any negative effects that you experience in the short term. However, they could prove to be devastating in the long run.

Pleasure is easy, happiness is hard. It is technically not difficult to cheat on your spouse or significant other. It can be difficult to resist the temptation to cheat though. Pleasure is fleeting, Happiness can be eternal. Happiness is being at peace with yourself. It comes from the inside and it’s a serene feeling of dignity that is unmatched in the human experience. There is no greater reward. The sooner you find it, the longer you will be able to enjoy it. As long as you do not betray what got you there, it will never diminish or leave you. When you find happiness, otherwise mundane tasks become pleasurable to you. You are no longer forced to search for pleasure, as you suddenly will find it everywhere you look and in everything you do.


You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc



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