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Are You Living For Happiness Or Pleasure? They Are Different!

Are You Living For Happiness Or Pleasure? They Are Different!

Do you live in the moment or are you building long-term happiness? Have you ever decided to go out and try a new activity or buy a new gadget, certain that it will make you happy, only to be disappointed?

So often, we think that a quick pick-me-up, such as a shopping spree or meal at a new restaurant, will revive our enthusiasm for life. However, we often find that we feel just as empty as we did before we left home. If you find yourself always trying to find happiness in the present, it may be time to re-examine your relationship to momentary pleasure and consider taking a long-term approach to happiness instead.

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What is happiness, anyway?

It is important to appreciate the difference between pleasure – which is an immediate positive sensation experienced as a result of a particular activity – and happiness. Happiness is a state that persists across time, whereas pleasure is more fleeting in nature.

You feel pleasure when you eat a delicious meal, receive a massage, or enjoy a few extra hours of sleep on a Sunday morning.

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Happiness is a global evaluation of your life as it stands, and it also offers a sense of hope for the future. Happiness may come from achieving a meaningful goal and reflecting on the steps you had to take to attain it, like building a long-term romantic relationship or undertaking a period of spiritual growth, for example.

Laying the foundations for future happiness is often hard work that brings little to no pleasure. Consider the following list of things that bring us long-term happiness, but often cause more pain than pleasure on a minute-by-minute basis:

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Things that bring long term happiness though it can cause pain at the moment

  • Working hard to get into shape and improve your health
  • Working through difficulties in a relationship to strengthen it over the long-term
  • Working at a challenging job in order to gain a better quality of life and professional achievements
  • Renovating an old property in order to create a beautiful family home for years to come
  • Budgeting carefully to save well for a happy retirement

Equally, many common things we do in pursuit of pleasure do not actually result in happiness over the long term. These include:

Things that bring pleasure but not happiness

  • Eating tasty but unhealthy junk food, which results in poor health and weight gain
  • Procrastinating at work, which may be pleasurable, but can result in an unsatisfying career
  • Playing video games for hours at a time, which impairs productivity
  • Watching television that does little to improve our knowledge or appreciation of the world
  • Buying unnecessary items, like coffee, that give brief pleasure but deplete our finances over time

How should we balance momentary pleasure with true happiness?

There is no need to forsake all momentary pleasure. It is fine to live for the moment some of the time. However, when it becomes detrimental to your overall life progress over a long-term period of time, you need to work harder at striking a balance between long-term happiness and short-term gratification. If you have a gnawing sensation that you are missing out on life and that your goals have been unmet for months or even years, this is a sign that you need to focus on attaining long-term happiness and spend less time in pursuit of short-term pleasure.

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You need to overcome your inability to push through discomfort and move towards what will make you happy over the long haul, even when you would much rather give into your desire for short-term gratification. We all know that working hard will pay off and produce long-lasting happiness, but actually making yourself put in the effort required can be immensely difficult. Anticipate these feelings and learn to take pride in overcoming them. Know that it is normal to resent discomfort, but that the happiest people are willing and able to tolerate psychological discomfort.

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    Jay Hill

    Freelance Writer

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

    7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

    What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

    For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

    It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

    1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

    The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

    What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

    The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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    2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

    Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

    How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

    If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

    Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

    3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

    Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

    If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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    These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

    What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

    4. What are my goals in life?

    Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

    Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

    5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

    Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

    Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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    You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

    Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

    6. What do I not like to do?

    An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

    What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

    Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

    The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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    7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

    Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

    But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

    “What do I want to do with my life?”

    So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

    Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

    Reference

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