What if I told you that your quest for happiness is making you miserable?

Pause for a moment. Take a deep breath. And think deeply… What makes you happy? And I’m not talking about the momentary, fleeting euphoria of buying a new car or landing the deal you’ve been working on for the last few months. I’m talking about true contentment that lasts through the highs and lows of life.

The problem with focusing on the pursuit of happiness is its elusive nature. Dr. Anthony Grant, Director of Coaching Psychology at Sydney University once wrote that happiness is “highly valued, relentlessly perused, rarely experienced. Ironically, the harder we try to buy, seize, or closet happiness, the less likely we are to be happy. Indeed, even talking about “how we can be happy” often leaves us with a sense of dissatisfaction.”

Emily Esfahani Smith tackles the problem of pursuing happiness and what you should be chasing after instead from the TED stage:

Emily Esfahani Smith – There’s More to Life than Being Happy


So if you pursue anything, pursue these four pillars: Belonging, Purpose, Transcendence, and Story-Telling. There’s something extraordinary about losing yourself in the service of a greater purpose, and then finding your true self in the community and meaning that is created.

When you think about all of the things that had to align for you to be in this moment right now, it is truly remarkable. Dr. Ali Binazir does the math and it turns out that the probability of your birth is one in 102,685,000, which quite literally makes you a miracle!

So take a moment to cultivate gratitude for the air that you have in your lungs and how incredible it is that you are here in this moment right now. And start taking steps toward finding what it is you are here to accomplish with this precious life. You are alive for a reason. Find your meaning and you will find true happiness.