Nothing makes you unhappier than trying to be happy.
We live in a pleasure society. Everything is designed to make you feel good. Sugar in every food and drink. Sexuality displayed everywhere and gained with one tap of your finger on your phone.
And still, people are constantly searching for happiness. But this is a fallacy. Especially for us men.
Because indulging in these happiness-factories we built in our society makes you unhappier than you think.
It is exactly what happened to me.
● Seeking pleasure makes you depressed
I remember almost two years ago what my life looked like. I was working a decent paying 9-5 job, was married, had some friends I met on the weekends, and my spare time after work I was spending on playing videogames, watching porn, eating junk food, and then spending each evening on Netflix.
Basically had everything society tells me is good. But somehow I still felt empty inside. Something was missing, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It just felt pointless somehow. Was that really all there is? The next step would be a house and kids. Good. And then? Working 30 years in a job I hate to retire without money, waiting to die?
Maybe that is too cynical, but I am sure it resonates with some men out there. Probably even most men. As the quote goes, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. —Henry David Thoreau, Walden.”
I was that man. I was desperate for better sex as an external validation that I am a man who gets some. I was desperate for more money to buy stuff to show off to my friends to feel better. I was desperate for meaning in my life because that current life felt so predefined and irrelevant.
I remember telling my wife that I liked being a small cog in a big company. Doing my part of the trade, so this company keeps running. She just nodded, but was probably thinking, “Really? Are those the sum of your aspirations in life?”
She never said anything like this because the ladies rarely communicate as overt as we men do.
● Do we all need to be millionaires?
After waking up and noticing that I don’t like my current life at all, I went on a mission to find myself and what I truly want. Only to realize that I am not the cog in the machine. I don’t like this life at all.
I want millions of Dollars, fast cars, big houses. And I actually enjoy the freelancing lifestyle. Which is why I started my own blog, wrote books, and help other men. But the point is, I am well aware that not all men like that.
My best friend for example totally thrives in being the family dad. He loves playing with his kids, and this is the sum of aspirations he has. This made me realize two things:
- There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this
- It is totally fine if I want to be utterly different
We are being raised to follow that predefined lifestyle. Go to school, learn a corporate job, meet a woman, marry her, buy a house, have kids, work, retire, die. And for some men, this is totally fine. But for others, it is hell. And these men – like me – live lives of quiet desperation.
We never say a thing. But even worse, we never do a thing about it. We see these fast cars and cool stuff rich people buy and have, and we’d love to have that as well, but we believe it is impossible because that’s what we’re told from growing up.
Maybe it is not money that you seek. Maybe you just want to help kids in Africa get an education, and you’d like to do this voluntarily. Maybe you want to be a digital nomad and write from anywhere around the world to an audience. Maybe you want to be a famous movie star. Maybe you want to have sex with every type of woman possible.
Whatever your dreams and aspirations are, the problem is that you’re not living them, and that makes you unhappy.
● Adversity means happiness
This is something none of us are ever taught. That adversity, and most importantly, overcoming it is what makes you happy. Men thrive when we have a mission, a purpose. Something to strive for, something that fulfills us.
David Deida said in The Way of the Superior Man that for the feminine, happiness is derived from love. From having a “loving nest” with kids and a man. But for the masculine, happiness is derived from being in line with his mission.
Men are on this planet to mean something.
Most people would agree with this, but then put labels on it. It means you have to be rich and famous.
No, absolutely not. It just means you should be doing what you like! And this might not be what your current life is. Maybe you just need a little bit of adjustment. Just start a hobby you love, or once did. Maybe it means you need to leave the country to feel whole.
I don’t know. Nobody knows. You do! But to get to this, you need to overcome obstacles. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. If you want to live in happiness, you need to overcome adversity. This is your calling as a man. If it weren’t, and just indulging in all those easy pleasures would be your calling, then you wouldn’t be depressed and feel empty.
So what you should be doing is not trying to be happy. You should try to do hard things. Which are aligned with your dreams. Maybe you don’t know what your real dreams are, yet. Fine. Do something. Start anything. But if you aren’t happy in your current place of life then you need to do something.
You need to seek adversity. You need to do the hard stuff. Be it trying to be more dominant with your wife, setting boundaries with your kids, or trying to make more money. Whatever it is, it won’t come easy.
And that is the point. Easy won’t net you what your soul seeks. Overcoming adversity is what makes you happy in the end. Remember the last time you went jogging, or to the gym? After an hour of a great workout session, you feel great. Alive, energetic, full of willpower. Because you overcame adversity. Through the workout itself and because you overcame your inner demons.
This feeling is true for life in general. Overcome those inner demons, do hard things, work towards your dreams and goals relentlessly. And at the top of that mountain, you will find happiness.