A couple years ago, I read a book by Neil Pasricha titled The Happiness Equation, which I rated a 4 out of 5 along my own personal scale. In his book, he concluded that when it comes to happiness, there are only three goals. Three goals…that sounds pretty simple, right? As I was re-reading my notes this morning, I figured I would share with you my thoughts on these three goals. The funny thing was that I as I put my thoughts together, about these goals, I got a bit confused…
Goal #1: To want nothing. That’s contentment.
Okay, so I said three goals sounded pretty simple, but I didn’t say they were easy. I find it kinda hard to want nothing. I mean, I don’t necessary have a burning desire for many things, but I still want things. I want a healthy family, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. So even as a guy who is searching for happiness, I still have wants. Now, I get it. If I don’t want anything, I can never be disappointed, and thus I would be content. Makes sense, but I’m not sure that’s achievable.
Perhaps a better look at it is to not want or need anything for yourself. I could stand behind that a bit. I mean, I’m always gonna want good health for myself and to be of sound mind, but I guess if I don’t require good health and a sound mind, I could be happy??? I guess the trick is to not make your happiness dependent on your wants. That’s something I can stand behind, when it comes to things for me. But when it’s things for the people I love, to want nothing can be tough.
Too Literal: Maybe I’m taking this too literally. Maybe he’s not saying to literally want nothing. Maybe this is more along the lines of being happy with what you have and to want of nothing. Now, I believe that one. If we’re happy with what we have, we really don’t need anything else to make us happy.
Goal #2: To do anything. That’s freedom.
If we can do anything we want, that is truly freedom. Having said that, I can’t say that people would be happier if they could literally do anything. What I mean is, sometimes we are more successful and happier when we have limitations. If I could do anything at anytime, how long would it be before I got bored? If everything was at my whim, where’s the challenge? I believe part of being happy is having a worthy purpose and goal in life. If we can do anything, then I think that removes a whole lot of goals from our list. So, honestly, I don’t want to be able to do anything.
Too Literal: Maybe I’m taking this too literally. Maybe he’s not saying to do anything we want, but to be doing what we want. What I mean is, I will be happy if I have a choice of the things I want to do. In other words, I’m not forced to have a job that I’m unhappy with, a relationship I’m not happy with, or a life I’m not happy with. But I have the freedom of choosing these things. In that choice, I can find happiness.
Goal #3: To have everything. That’s happiness.
Who wouldn’t be happy to have everything? Again, to have everything would be to want nothing. So I guess this falls in line with the first goal, but I’m struggling with this one too. Would I really be happy if I had everything? If I had everything, what would I be working towards? I believe we have to have a purpose in life, and working towards that purpose makes us happy. I don’t believe having everything will make us happy.
Too Literal: Again, maybe I’m taking this too literally. Maybe the author is saying that if we believe we have everything, then we are truly happy. If we believe we have everything we need, then we don’t really want for anything. And that would surely make me happy.
It’s funny, I began writing this post to share these three goals with you. But as I shared them, I found myself kinda debunking them, or maybe I was just taking them too literally. I believe the author is sharing a mindset where, if we believe we want for nothing, can do anything, and have everything, we will find happiness. Figuratively, I agree. Literally I don’t. We will always want something, never be able to do anything, and never have everything. But we can be happy with what we have, be happy with what we’re doing, and not feel a need for anything. I believe this is the nature of what the author was sharing.
I gave this book a 4 out of 5 rating, because there are definitely some good nuggets of information in there. This is a great book, but I wouldn’t take these three goals literally. You need to take them figuratively and understand that true happiness is a mindset. It’s not in what you have or what you do. It’s in what you think about what you have and what you do.
If you want to give The Happiness Equation a read, as I plan to talk about it over the next couple posts, you can pick it up via my affiliate link here: