Is It Foolhardy To Pursue Happiness?

Imagine that I want to earn one million dollars or sleep with 500 girls. I can look at my bank account when it says one million dollars or know in my head when I get to 500 girls, because they are objective numbers that can be tracked. But how do you know when you’ve arrived at happiness? How do you maintain the happiness that you think you’ve found? As I get older, I’m starting to discover that happiness can often beget unhappiness.

Let’s pretend that your idea of happiness is living on a beach, not having to work, and reading books all day. You spend ten years getting rich to realize this dream. You fly off to the beach, turn off your cell phone, and start reading a queue of many wonderful books.

For the first month you are incredibly happy. You feel the best that you ever have in your life.

By the second month you’re still happy, but you’re getting a little tired of reading. You start to feel lonely and wish you had some beautiful female companionship.

By the sixth month, you’re sick of books and the beach. You decide that the key to happiness is actually living in an exciting city with great coffee shops where you can approach women.

You move to the city, bang a lot of girls, and think to yourself, “Now this is happiness. The beach was too boring.” Then six months later you’re tired of women and wish again for the quiet isolation that the beach and books gave you. Back and forth you go, like a pendulum between two things that are both able to make you happy.

Built into our search for happiness is a poison pill that guarantees unhappiness. This is because humans have the strong ability to adapt. We simply get used to our environment. Painful environments stop giving us pain after a while and happy environments stop giving us happiness after a while. In the latter case, you can spend your whole life chasing happiness, get it, and then see yourself getting unhappier. Therefore having a goal in life to “be happy” will just about guarantee unhappiness. You will do the things that make you happy only to quickly adapt to them and feel like you have to start searching again. You’re no different than a hamster running in a wheel.

I’m a perfect example of this problem. When I was young, I believed that getting laid would make me happy. I was incredibly happy when I first started notching my belt, but with each new girl, I got less happiness from doing it.

Then I thought not having an oppressive corporate job would make me happy. I worked really hard on my writing so I didn’t have to work anymore. The first few months of not working was amazing. I loved waking up past noon and not having any responsibilities. But now I don’t even remember what it was like not to work. Today I find it hard to believe that my old job made me that unhappy.

Then I thought moving out of Washington DC would make me happy. Traveling around the world and making love with many foreign women has definitely made me happy, but even that’s getting a bit old. After traveling to over 20 countries in a relatively short period of time, part of me doesn’t even want to travel anymore. There’s no doubt that DC is horrible, but it has some positives in the form of friends and family that I can’t get anywhere else.

I can say that I’m definitely more content today with my own business, my ability to travel, and my efforts in dating feminine women. It’s something I wouldn’t trade for what I had before, but on a happiness scale from 1 to 10 I’m only maybe 1 or 1.5 points higher now than just a few years ago. Still, I can’t fight the ache inside me that wants to continue trying to find the next source of happiness, the next crack hit, even though I know I will adapt to whatever new positive environment I find myself in.

I often wonder if humans can improve their happiness much more than 25%. That’s still a significant amount, but it’s not enough to completely change your existence. You will always be bound by the limits of the human condition and the chemicals in your brain that get used to the positive stimuli it receives.

So what’s the solution? Should you just forget about happiness altogether and accept any miserable situation you find yourself in? I believe you should do three things:

1. Understand that happiness is something you adapt to. Chase your dreams and try to achieve your ideal as long as you know you will get used to that ideal. You will hit a point where your dream doesn’t make you as happy as when you first started living it.

2. Find happiness today. If you’re not capable of enjoying whatever situation you’re facing now, no matter how crappy, nothing will make you happy. Enjoy the nice coffee shop near your house that stays open late, the library you’re able to read free books at, or the local music scene you’re able to frequent. If the little things don’t give you happiness, then the big things won’t either.

3. Tweak your life is small ways before focusing on the big. If most of your unhappiness is coming from the neighborhood you’re living in or your roommate, try finding a new apartment before you decide to up and move to another city entirely.

If you don’t like the American women you’re dating, learn salsa and try to meet some Latina women before deciding a month long trip through South America that you can’t yet afford.

If you hate your job and can’t stand the work, look for another job in your field before indulging in some rash business idea you read on the internet.

If you’re lonely because you don’t have any friends, look for new hobbies in your city before you book an around-the-world trip where you’ll probably be even more lonely.

There’s nothing wrong with moving to a new city, going to South America for a month, starting an internet business, and so on, but when it comes to happiness, it’s worth going for small changes first that give you an idea how you’ll deal with a big change. I knew that I’d like South American women because of the ones I interacted with in the States. I knew that writing full-time would be fun because I was already doing it part-time. Let the tweaks you make tell you if it’s worth going for a bigger change. Base your actions on thought-out plans, not impulses, or you may find yourself even less happy than before.

Whereas not long ago my idea of happiness was hitting on girls in a cheesy club, today it’s putting in one hour of language study and three hours of writing. I know that in a couple years there can be something completely different that makes me happy, and that’s okay, because happiness is not permanent and is not something that I can hold onto. As long as I wake up tomorrow and do what I like doing, I can’t ask for much more.

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  • nemesis

    That’s pretty much the story written in Siddharta

  • http://neckbeardchronicles.blogspot.com Mojo

    Very nice post, Roosh.

    Something similar occurred to me some time ago. You won’t find happiness by searching for it. It only comes as the byproduct of achieving (or even just pursuing) other goals. You have to set your sights at other (higher) things and let happiness come to you in time.

  • rokiroo

    well written article and good advice.

    im already starting now!

  • Anonymous

    I love when shit gets deep on this blog :)

  • Thomas

    I am young, and I feel that my vision of what achieves happiness changes more frequently than it might when I’m in my 30′s.

  • JL

    Roosh, I like your writing and agree with much of it. But the longing and the restlessness points to the end of the current path, which is emptiness. True happiness comes from serving others, just like many faiths have stated, including my own Catholic faith. Ask a mother or father – that job is incredibly hard….but the source of their true happiness.

  • Anonymous

    I think contentment or purpose (mission) is a better goal than happiness.

    Contentment can probably be sustained at a higher level, while happiness and sadness will come and go.

  • Mobi

    I am 56 and enjoy seeing the thoughts of younger writers evolve as the age, mature and grow. If you’re not a ‘happy person’, fcking a lot of women will not make you happy…making a lot of money (beyond about $75K US) will not make you happy…travelling the world will not make you happy. I’ve done all of these things and none of them have increased my basic happiness / well-being / peace of mind. The search for happiness itself will lead you to unhappiness because you will never find it. Better to walk through life with a basic curiousity of “I want to find out what it truly means to be ME”. Happiness just may occur as a byproduct – if it does, look at it, savor it, then let it go.

  • Amante

    As the old saying goes: variety is the spice of life.

  • frank

    Your happiness enhancers are all about forms of self gratification (travel, sex, money). Pursuing personal pleasure. Studies and much wise writing agree: happiness comes from having a useful purpose and being valued by others, not mere self interest. There was even that cute study that found having subjects give away money made them much happier than receiving the money.

    Man is a deeply tribal animal. Working to further the tribe and being respected for it is what makes people happy. This is why unemployed people are miserable even if they are living comfortably and their old job sucked.

  • SweeTrex

    Thanks roosh, great post. I know a lot of people in our generation going through the same question, and always asking ourselves: what is plan B? Plan C? Etc. It is exhausting. Finding some modicum of happiness in your present life can make your day-to-day substantially more tolerable.

  • jon

    I think its more important to focus on values and belief’s then anything else , alot of the things that happen are just side effects and it won’t make you happy with just that alone. You hit the nail on the head at the end when you said “As long as I wake up tomorrow and do what I like doing, I can’t ask for much more”.

  • Kharoche

    It’s “the law of diminishing returns” or to put it more exactly “the law of diminishing marginal utility” which states: “the first unit of consumption of a good or service yields more utility (or pleasure) than the second and subsequent units. In the end you must logically reach a point where living on a beach, reading books becomes a living Hell.

    P.S. Would love to join your Forum!

  • Brandon

    This reminds of duality and how ppl seem to think they’ll get to a point in life where they only have the ‘on’ instead of the ‘off’. But when you realize they go together and depend on each other, you can look at life as a fun game and achieve those goals and that happiness is something you just decide to do right now no matter what.

  • SJ

    Great post Roosh and one of the best insights yet! I have done many of the things you are doing and meditation and exercise helps a lot. As a buddhist I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo the buddhist mystic law taught by Nichiren Daishonin and prayer helps beat unhappiness. I am talking about life condition and human revolution to build a more stable happy state not a fleeting feeling. For me, constant challenge and self improvement whether it be learning a new hobby or skill definitely increases my level of happiness.

  • http://taoofdirt.wordpress.com Dirt Man

    frank (comment #10) gets it right.

  • Jordan

    Great Post! Very thought provoking…

  • Theodora

    loved this!

  • frank

    This is off topic, and I don’t mean to criticize anyone, but I find pop-Buddhism hilarious. Certain people seem drawn to it despite knowing nothing about it. Buddhism is an extremely sexually repressive and body denying religion. It’s almost fundamentally about denying the self! It is far more severe than, say, Catholicism, which celebrates carnal pleasure in marriage. It’s just so weird the kind of people in the West who are drawn to it. Almost any other religion would make more sense.

  • Roman

    Roosh, Great post. I think the key points are, that happiness doesn’t occur on it’s own! Some may think your achievements were easy to come by, I think they have to throw on a scale all the risks and hard work (learning languages, writing, reading tons of books, adapting to new cities, etc…) that you’ve put into it to get to where you are. Having said that, while I do believe that you always have to challenge yourself, and that’s what keeps you live, and leads to ongoing happiness.

    It’s a cliche phrase that I read this morning, but I agree with it: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything”.

  • http://www.dawnofchange.com/tips-towards-personal-growth Onder

    Really good post Roosh.
    I think the 2 main reason why people get bored is because of ‘lack of appreciation’ and ‘settling’.

    As a species, we are designed to grow and evolve. The reason we adapt is so that we seek new and better challenges. That’s why technology has been able to evolve, why we’ve come up with better advancements in medicine and created healthier offspring and so on…

    So to put this into practical terms. If you’re in a job you enjoy but soon start to settle and get bored. try and look for ways to callenge yourself within the company. Or look at improving your rep count at the gym as an example.

    In terms of appreciation. This is vital because it’s the main reaosn why people eventually seperate due to losing sight of the reaosn they fell into a relationship in the first place. Always remind yourself why you like working at your current job or why you love your partner etc.

    I believe if you do these 2 things, you’ll end up becoming happier and more humble.

  • Anonymous

    I lived in Eastern Europe for a while, like you, I started to forget about what made me unhappy in the west. I was still happy in EE, just not Euphoric, because happiness just became the baseline of what I was everyday (not just because of the girls, but rather because of the overall culture). I even began to forget unhappiness and to idealize living in the west, stressing its positives and forgetting/ignoring all the negatives.

    I then decided to move back to the West, missing my family, friends, and craving certain foods. wow, what a mistake… Within about 1 week I realized I had made a huge mistake. If there is one regret in my life, its coming back to the US.

    If I have one goal in my life, its to move back there, and to only come here for maybe 1 month at a time max to visit family/old friends.

    just wait till you come back, get back that old job (god forbid), you’ll see its exactly like you first remembered it when you decided to leave.

    I find that we realize what is ‘happy’ most of all when we are unhappy, i.e. when we reflect on the past, and we realize that we were ‘happy’ in the past. It doesn’t go the other way. That is, when we are happy in the present, and reflect on the past, we don’t remember unhapiness correctly, our sense of ‘unhapiness’ is warped by being currently happy.

    i.e.
    currently unhappy — remember happy times
    currently happy — can’t remember unhappy times

  • Anonymous

    > Understand that happiness is something you adapt to.

    It’s called hedonic adaptation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_treadmill and is a very common thread in lifestyle experimentation writing http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/22/what-is-hedonic-adaptation-and-how-can-it-turn-you-into-a-sukka/

  • Pingback: Paradise Sucks « Paradigm Shift

  • Brandon

    @frank

    When you supress your natural desires, it’s really the ‘off’ part of seeking them out. And that is not what enlightenment is about. The point is you are already capable of happiness, and it’s fun to set goals and meet them, because…well there’s nothing else to do. It’s fun.

    If you think attaining enlightenment is religious or about pushing away all earthly wants and needs, then you’ve been misinformed about that particular subject. No biggie.

  • repo man

    Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai ‘Ngaje Ngai’, the House of God. Close to the western summit there is a dried and frozen carcas of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.
    Ernest Hemingway, The Snows of Kilimanjaro

    Do you know what it was the leopard was seeking? Do you understand why the creature climbed to that altitude and what happened to it? The answer to the riddle is the answer, I think, to understanding how to travel the road of love.

    Harlan Ellison, Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled

  • http://delicioustacos.com delicioustacos

    He who binds to himself a joy
    Doth the winged life destroy.
    He who kisses the joy as it flies,
    Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

  • http://rationalmale.wordpress.com Rollo Tomassi

    Here’s a secret – there’s no such thing as contentment.

    Being content implies that life is static; it’s not, and to be honest, how boring would that be anyway? Life consists of varying states of discontent: why else would you bother doing anything?

    But the good news is that it’s more fun and more beneficial to manage discontent than to endure contentment (which you can’t anyway since it’s transitory at best). The trick is to understand that there are 2 kinds of discontent – creative and destructive discontent.

    What you choose to do with that discontent makes all the difference in the world. You will only get what you’ve gotten if you keep doing what you’ve done. Don’t allow yourself to fall back into old destructive habits of dealing with discontent. Don’t bother with anti-depressants and self-help books when a good hard workout at the gym would serve you better.

    The truth is I’m always discontent, but constructively so. The minute you can look yourself in the mirror and be happy with what you see you’re sunk. You can always improve, even after achieving things that were once very important and difficult to attain.

    Happiness is a state of being, it’s in the ‘doing’ not the ‘having done.’ It’s not about endlessly chasing your tail, it’s about being better than you were the day before. The moment you look in the mirror and are happy with what you see, you’re sunk.

    It’s not the having, it’s the getting.

  • http://thisisnotimefortheanonymous.blogspot.com TAllagash

    the best parts were about researching and having back up plans rather than booking a trip about a culture you know nothing about to a part of the world you know nothing about, and/or running off on some internet pyramid/work 4 hours a week scheme.

    real advice to avoid the pitfalls for those hoping to make substantive changes to their lives.

  • Eirykr

    Roosh, this post reminds me of the Aesthete’s “crop rotation” method from Kierkegaard’s Either/Or. In this essay Kierkegaard takes on the role of two characters with opposing viewpoints, arguing in dialectic about the nature of happiness. Much like the aesthete, you have found that pleasure wanes and you must constantly seek new pleasures, while occasionally cycling back to old ones when the new ones lose their novelty.

    Interestingly, some of the comments here seem to reflect the opposing view of Judge Wilhelm (the second character in the essay) who advises the Aesthete to commit himself to a higher calling.

    If you’d like to read the essay you can find it for free here: http://www.btinternet.com/~glynhughes/squashed/kierkegaard.htm

  • Sam Spade

    Keep sharpening your saw.

  • thedude3737

    from The Fountainhead:

    “The pursuit of happiness is proof of its lack”

  • http://www.theredpillroom.blogspot.com Ian Ironwood

    Happiness isn’t a condition, it’s a process.

    Consider: most dudes spend their entire lives trying to find their “dream job” — NASCAR driver, bordello quality control technician, beer taster, whatever. Once they get it, as you’ve said, they enjoy a brief period of time where it’s great, and then a longer period of time discovering that it is not, actually, all that great.

    When it comes to women, a lot of dudes figure that if they could just find the right one, then everything else will fall into place. And then they approach the issue without realizing just what the “right one” will be like. Often they have a laundry-list of physical characteristics that even when met are inadequate for their purposes. A woman can’t make you happy. The most she can do is augment what happiness you do have. Often, she’s one of the reasons you aren’t happy.

    If you want to know the secret to Happiness, Gentlemen, it’s simple: Happiness is the productive pursuit of your personal goals. That’s it. If things are moving in the right direction, then you know it, and all the dumb shit falls to the side. You might be impatient that the goal hasn’t been achieved, you might be anxious about your own ability to achieve the goal, you may be entirely mistaken about what your goal actually is, and your goals are subject to change with maturity and experience but . . . if you are moving in the right direction, you may experience challenges, but it is rare that you experience real unhappiness.

    Your job, your lifestyle, and your woman are not what your happiness is dependent upon. Nor is your relative devotion to public service or other altruistic endeavors necessarily going to do it. Some people just don’t get a charge out of helping other people. Your happiness is utterly dependent upon realizing your own goals, whatever they might be, however they might change. It is NOT a steady-state sort of thing, it’s plastic and fluctuates wildly sometimes. Your happiness may actually be spiked with occasional periods of intense anxiety or worry or anger about a lack of progress, but as long as there is some progress toward what you want, you have all the basis for your own happiness that you need.

    As I often tell people when they apologize for getting in my way: “I don’t let people get in my way. Sometimes that means I have to change my route, but it never means I change my way.” My personal goals are my own, whatever they are. And as long as I’m making progress, I’m happy. At the moment that involves a wife and kids and professional success, but your mileage may vary greatly . . . and probably does.

  • http://www.theredpillroom.blogspot.com Ian Ironwood

    @SJ:

    ” As a buddhist I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo the buddhist mystic law taught by Nichiren Daishonin and prayer helps beat unhappiness.”

    No, it merely distracts you from unhappiness by giving you some nonsense words to chant until you forget why you’re unhappy. It doesn’t remove the cause of your unhappiness or even motivate you to make a change, it gives you tacit permission to accept your unhappiness without recourse to a pragmatic response. Christian prayer is often used in the same way.

    On another note, of all the sects of Buddhism to quote about happiness, choosing the only sect ever to take pacifistic Buddhism and transform it into a fanatically militant religion that historically behaved more like the Knights Templar than the Buddha, and which later inspired the Tokyo subway attacks, is not perhaps the best call. While it’s debatable whether or not any Westerner can understand the nuances of Buddhist thought and practice, Nichiren Buddhism enjoys the same level of theologic respect and moral authority as the Unification Church of Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

  • ken

    When I lived in the Philippines, there was a t-shirt slogan that said, ‘Another shitty day in Paradise’. Mark Twain wrote that many people think they will enjoy singing praises to God forever, when most people can’t stand doing it one hour a week. Humans get bored.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, the hedonic treadmill.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Roosh, you might be interested to know that there’s an entire area of psychology dedicated to studying exactly this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_psychology). Funny thing is, what you figured out by yourself is exactly what they find in their studies :-) You might enjoy the book “Stumbling on Happiness”, it’s one of the more solid, interesting, and entertaining pop-psych books out there in my opinion.

  • The Glee Manifesto

    The happiest man alive, Owen Wilson, tried suicide a few years ago

  • Phinn

    The key to avoiding hedonic adaptation is the same as avoiding an exercise rut — randomization.

    If you’ve ever lifted weights or trained for a sport, you know that you can hit plateaus in your improvement. Your body adapts to the demands that are placed on it. Routines and drills that were once highly effective start to become less so.

    To jump-start your performance gains, you have to change things up. New moves. New patterns. New intensities. You have to keep one step ahead of your body’s constant attempts at adaptation.

    Art DeVany discusses this a lot, and it opened my eyes to exercise and nutrition, and made them enjoyable to me for the first time in my life. Humans evolved to live in a natural system where constancy and predictability were virtually non-existent. Natural systems exist in a state of extremes — feast or famine — that follow a Power Law distribution in a surprising number of ways.

    Even in our modern world, exercise can be designed that way — short periods of extreme intensity, and long periods of rest and inactivity, with very little activity in the middle that is “average” or moderate. This means eliminating “jogging” and elliptical trainers and swimming laps and weight training sessions that last for 3 hours — those long, moderate, intensely boring forms of exercise that you have to steel yourself just to muster the will to do.

    Happiness works the same way. If you get into a pattern of activity that never changes, your brain will adapt. Randomize it. Get out of your comfort zone. Constant travel will become as boring (eventually) as never traveling at all. But occasional travel will make you happier.

    Sex works the same way, which is why new pussy is so attractive compared with the same pussy all the time. To be in a successful LTR or marriage, you have to randomize your fucking. Having a standing expectation to fuck every Wednesday and Saturday between 7pm and 9pm will make even the finest, tightest pussy seem unappealing.

  • http://www.samvincente.com Sam Vincente

    Happiness is relative. If you want to feel happy, take a look at how shit the rest of the world is.

  • 20th Level

    One if the last times was at church which is probably going on a decade ago that days subject that the minister was speaking about was some seriously profound shit.

    The subject of the day was the commandment “thou shalt not covet” meaning that you should not want something so bad that you cannot be content without it. Its importance is two fold. The first is because not being content unless you had your neighbors stuff could lead to doing all kinds of bad shit. But that’s not the problem here.

    The problem here is the second reason. Being that your not being content will make you not appreciative of the things that you DO have. There is a logic path here where if you follow it down the road a bit, it makes perfect sense.

    I think you are becoming numb to the small things Roosh, and those are what’s most important. My once a month Chipotle burrito, I fucking love it. If I go running down by the shore where the waves are breaking mere yards away from me, the view is so ridiculous sometimes I can’t even fucking believe it. Knocking back ice cold Coronas at a rowdy sports bar while watching Lebron crush the spirits of millions of haters around the world? Sheer bliss. Reading a really good, thick, sci fi novel or watching a good Korean revenge flick? Sheer bliss. I could go on and on. This is the small stuff that I appreciate every day. Make note that none of these things have to do with pulling bitches.

    Every day I appreciate the fact that I can enjoy all of this without some nagging hag telling me I should be doing something else.

    The second thing a guy that is not of retirement age needs is a challenging worthy goal. This is crucial and it should not be easily achieved if achieved at all. What’s important is the pursuit of it and more importantly, having the FREEDOM to persue it. A man that is not challenged in life is simply running out the clock until the end. If you achieve your goals you should always have another challenge sitting there waiting for you to knock its proverbial head off.

  • Sam Spade

    @20th Level – great words. The LeBron part made me laugh out loud.

    I’ve learned to appreciate what I have – especially the things that are free. Sunsets are fucking amazing. Flowers – I never thought I’d be into ‘em but now I belong the local Botanical Gardens. Just walking around my neighborhood in NYC makes me happy. Hell, the fact that I LIVE in NYC (I love it here) gives me great satisfaction. Of course I’m always pursuing new things but I love what I have. (That includes the wife.)

  • http://N/A Psychonaut

    Your generosity will return to you. Karma is real.

  • Nathan

    Relates to your comments on “La Dolce Vita” a few years back http://www.rooshv.com/la-dolce-vita

  • http://www.thegmanifesto.com The G Manifesto

    “your idea of happiness is living on a beach”

    “the key to happiness is actually living in an exciting city with great coffee shops where you can approach women”

    This is why I spend most of my time in beautiful cities with a beach.

    - MPM

  • 20th Level

    @psychonaut

    100% agree. Good or bad, what you put out there WILL come back to you. I believe that far more often than not when bad shit happens to somebody its a result of a choice they made somewhere. Usually if they can’t see it, it simply means that they haven’t followed the thread of things they have said or done back far enough.

  • speakeasy

    I think this is a problem for people of higher intelligence and more complex thinking patterns. Less intelligent people seems to be much more easily satisfied with routine and having simple needs met. Ignorance is bliss and the more you know, the more you tend to second-guess and think about endless possibilities and alternate scenarios.

    I also think that people need to redefine what it means to be happy. I don’t strive for euphoria, I strive to be content. Most important is learning to take great pleasure in little things. I can sit down and watch a spider building an orb web and be totally intrigued by it.

  • Texas Liberal

    Roosh,

    Long time reader, first time commenter.

    Few housekeeping items:
    1. Thank you, so much, for doing what you’re doing. Some blog posts have hit hard in all the right ways.
    2. Though I have some disagreements with you, I appreciate the fact that you’re willing to look all the facts and, like this post, dig deep.

    I think you’ll like the book “The How of Happiness” by research psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky. I’m getting into it now and it’s pretty damn awesome. Just thought I’d share since I know you’re a fellow reader.

    Cheers, bro.

  • john

    I think comment #47 is right. I am often amazed when I come across people who by any measurable standard would be living a “below average existence” and yet, they are totally content and happy with life. Whether that means they aren’t educated, they have a “bad” job, financially not successful, etc.

    I think it is true that it is harder for intelligent people to be content and satisfied with their life. No matter how “successful” they may appear.

  • Son of Thor

    Roosh, make sure you’re eating right. I used to be fairly depressed when eating takeouts, pizza, the HFCS-laced, well, everything except the outer produce aisles of your average supermarket.

    Ditch the sugar, grains and the rancid vegetable oils that infest almost everything referred to as “food” these days.

    Maybe you’ve been eating too many shitty kebabs and it’s bringing you down.

    Go as whole foods (grass-fed meat, eggs, fish, butter, liver, vegtables, fruit) as you possibly can. Make sure to get at least a solid half of your calories from good animal fat.

    Doing this will change your mood immesurably for the better.

    The reasons for offering this advice are entirely selfish, since I don’t want to see Roosh suffer burnout. :)

  • Your Mom

    Best Roosh post ever? Keep up the philosophical musings my man–interspersed with some skirt chasing strategy, of course–you’ve got the soul, wisdom, and experiences to pull it off

  • Anonymous

    “To keep pleasures pleasurable, keep them brief”

  • ATrueMan

    I agree that happiness is largely a journey and not a destination.

    But I think in your specific case, one thing that may be hindering your happiness is that you are not really self-sufficient. At least not in your home country.

    For a man, I think having his own home (or apartment or condo), transportation, etc are immense sources of satisfaction/happiness.

    Banging foreign chicks is fun and all, but it only provides a surface level of “happiness”. It really should only be the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. Just knowing that you *can* fuck a good percentage of girls you meet is the most important thing.

  • moses

    You’re on the “hedonic treadmill.”

    Read the book “The Paradox of Choice” by Barry Schwartz. Excellent book about how people adapt to changes and regress to the mean.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice.html

    I don’t like the idea of “pursuing happiness” because the meaning is so fleeting and ambiguous. Instead, I prefer “pursuing meaning.” Do those things that have meaning and accomplishment in our lives.

    Don’t pursue happiness. Pursue meaning.

  • moses

    Happiness is a byproduct of pursuing meaning. It’s not an end in itself.

  • West LA

    You can’t be happy without a positive perception of yourself, with realistic expectations of yourself and the world outside you.
    Self-respect must be earned, continually, by living up to your standards for yourself.
    The trick is to be sure these standards really are YOURS; they aren’t just something which was beaten into you (from some external source).

    Struggling toward goals which are meaningful for you is what makes living your life feel meaningful, ie, fulfilling.
    Humans are not designed to live a life without struggle, so if you are living an existence free from struggle, you won’t be happy.
    There is a category of stress called eustress — stress which is beneficial to you — for example, exercising.

    Another commenter mentioned the importance of appreciation. That’s so true.
    Your capacity (and inclination) to appreciate whatever is good about your conditions is your capacity for happiness.
    Having a great capacity for appreciation is truly a form of wealth.

    I see many poor fools who are conceited because they were born lucky (smart, talented, attractive, in a good family, etc.), when really their only smart response to their good fortune would be GRATITUDE.
    Having a big ego (especially for things for which you really can’t take any credit) is a big handicap to being truly happy.
    Humility can be liberating; giving you freedoms which the egotist can’t have.

    Being selfish is okay, but being indifferent to the suffering of others is one way of being unhappy.
    Some rich people deeply despair because their safe, comfortable, abundant lifestyle gives them no risk, no uncertainty, no challenge, etc.
    What they fail to realize is that they’ve reached the point where they need to see what they can do to allieviate the unhappiness of others who are far less fortunate.
    Then this idle rich person (stupified by his gratification and freedom from unpleasantries)will quickly find his life very meaningful and passionate again.

  • http://stagedreality.wordpress.com Leap of a Beta

    Great post. For me, I approach life and happiness like I do game. Its all about calibration of the small details leading to big changes. Find the balance. Its hard as shit and you’re constantly having to adjust, but its interesting as hell and leads to a varied lifestyle.

    I wrote a small blurb about it on my own blog two posts ago, but yours captures it better with the real life examples of many things we all wish we could do.

  • Sincere

    But haven’t you ever done something that made you happier the longer you did it? Joy is real but I had to find “my thing” first.

  • http://zmaleok@gmail.com Forever Miserable

    There really is no point is there?
    I live in a state of constant unhappiness and the days are long. If someone like you who lives free and clear, is not happy, what hope is there for the likes of people like me?
    I figure that civilization has prolonged the life of scavenger,or as you call them, omegas and to be Frank,maybe that is not a good thing. Life can be long and miserable and lonely when you are already outwardly a failure,but it is pure hell when you know that even if ones unfortunate situation changes, you will not be one cunts hair closer to any type of contentment.
    In tribal times I probably would have either starved to death,been killed a beast,banished from a tribe and left to die,or be killed by a tribal leader,or weeded out of existence along with my potential offspring and it probably would’ve been better for the likes of fools like me. Instead I have to wait out my days until finally being put out if my misery.
    Well anyway,just know that it can DEFINITELY be worse,so much worse.

  • http://facebook.com/shonstarr Shon Starr

    Great post and self-reflection Roosh! Im currently having some of the same thoughts myself… I recommend reading the book The Way of Men by Jack Donovan. I read it a few weeks ago and Jack has some interesting ideas about men that may relate to this.

    He believes that man is truly a pack animal and despite the recent rise of things like capitalism and the USA’s promotion of the rugged INDIVIDUAL the world and man have always been and will always be tribal. In tribes men do not live to satisfy their own self-interest outside of the tribe and one of the most important things for tribal men is to earn the respect of the other men of your tribe; whether it’s being the best hunter, best fisherman, whatever. The most respected men eat the best food, get the best women, have the most power, etc…

    So for guys like us who live life off the grid, have the freedom to travel wherever/whenever, and bang lots of hot foreign chicks; while it may earn us a lot of respect with frat boys, hippies, and dreamers once we start getting older especially into our 30′s we are at a crossroads because this lifestyle now suddenly doesn’t earn us the same respect anymore from the other men in the tribe. We become obsolete and worthless to the tribe. Imagine meeting a girl’s father or being at some black tie gala at the French embassy and someone asks you “so what do you do” and your answer is I write about banging girls for a living, or i’m a DJ even if you became a billionaire doing this it does not have that kind of respected value in the tribe. Of course the Matrix is all bullshit, but as much as we hate it we do value it, because we live in it. So unless we are willing to COMPLETELY exist outside of the tribe, which i don’t even think is possible for man we will be torn with these thoughts and constantly question our value to the tribe and whether we are continuing to earn our fellow tribesman’s respect.

    just my two cents…
    http://facebook.com/shonstarr

  • Original JB

    “Is It Foolhardy To Pursue Happiness?”

    Short answer: no, you simply don’t know what happiness is.

  • http://deansdale.wordpress.com Deansdale

    You’re on the verge of a spiritual breakthrough, my friend :) Soon you will find out that you can’t find happiness on the outside because it is on the inside.
    With your second point you come close to the truth: happiness is finding the ability to enjoy what you have, instead of constantly looking for something new. No external thing can satisfy this kind of craving. The solution is to tune it down to the point where it disappears.

  • Tampa

    What’s really hard to come to grips with is the fundemental statement of:

    “If you got your health, you got everything.”

    All the other bullshti that comes and goes in life doesnt’ compare to not having your health. Maybe that’s contentment or whatever, but man should really remind himself everyday how lucky he is to be healthy – if that’s the case.

    Nothing worse in life than being sick. Sick with cancer. Sick with anexiety. Sick diesease…..

    Happiness really needs to be just being healthy and content.

    At it’s core, a healthy unhappy man is really just a selfish being.

  • http://eradica.wordpress.com Firepower

    It IS foolhardy
    to pursue happiness
    - if the pursuit
    makes you
    unhappy

  • SJ

    @Ian,

    I agree and disagree with you. For me, chanting and meditation brings me great joy and relaxation. I am not saying that buddhism and chanting is for everyone but it keeps me balanced and focused. Now personal growth and goals are important to become happy. That I agree on with you. Women are dream killers and when men put women on pedastal and let them take away their goals they become shells of their higher self.

  • whosyourdaddy

    A few points:

    I think that constantly being on the move actually starts to degrade your experience.You limit your interactions to other travelers, and the girls you meet, although it gives you enough time for the bang, you don’t have enough time to truly get to know her.

    I used to want to explore every corner of every country. However, now I think that it’s just better to pick one place and settle there, try to learn that countries language and their culture. That way, you make male and female friends, the locals at the local café, bars and restaurants get to know you and you can make real connections.

    Language and culture is also a huge deal. If you can’t communicate with the locals, or if the culture gap is so big that you integrate with the locals, you won’t be happy long-term.

    As an example, I’ve lived in other U.S. cities, such as Chicago, NYC and San Francisco and spent time in Los Angeles. The fact that I was spending at least one year in the place, made local friends, had no language or cultural barrier, makes it much easier to have real, meaningful experiences.

    Second comment is how no matter how hot the woman, once you marry her, after about 5 years, you’ll start to want other women, even if they are uglier than your wife. It’s called fresh meat.

  • 20th Level

    @ Shon Starr

    Good post. I went through this EXACT scenario a few years ago on a ship in the middle of the ocean in a ballroom straight of outta Titanic sitting at a table across from some stuffed shirt Brit asking me what I did for a living. At that moment the big titted blonde that was with me simply wasnt going to be enough. My priorities changed and I knew inside I needed to change my game and take things to a different level and direction.

    On a different note some of the posts above make me want to throw up a little when I read them. Were your legs blown off in the war or something? I tend to avoid self pitying dudes like you like the goddamn plague if I can help it. Get ahold of yourself and do something.

  • Gideon

    @20th Level and @Shon Starr

    Sorry, I really don’t give a shit about gaining the approval of society.

    Since it’s clear that 99% percent of people know fuck all about how the world works, why should I care about what they think of me?

    The meaningful things I do with my life are defined by me, not by others.

  • http://permanentguest.wordpress.com PermanentGuest

    It’s not a good idea to pursue happiness if 1) You see happiness as something external to you, and 2) You mix up happiness with pleasure.

    Happiness comes from within. Thinking you will find it from some outside source is foolhardy in and of itself.

    As far as pleasure, it is not a negative on it’s own. However, we should make sure pleasure is not the goal of our activity, but an inevitable by-product of it.

    Last [type]: The Root of Your Dating Issues

  • slumlord

    Happiness comes from within.

    And so does misery.

    The path to happiness begins with the mastery of desire.

  • 20th Level

    @Gideon

    Your statement is as false as it it is ridiculous. Everybody seeks approval from someone, EVERYBODY. Or tell me, how does it feel having no job, no women and no friends? Are you a mountain man living off the land with a cabin in the woods? You don’t need the approval of women to get laid so are you must be either a virgin or a rapist, which one is it? Niether right? Otherwise you wouldn’t be posting on a game blog I hope. Every functioning member of society seeks the approval of someone. It is simply your choice as to what part of society you seek approval from. A black hat hacker/ programmer isn’t going to get much approval from a biker gang. They both claim to be outlaw rebels but they both seek MASSIVE approval from their peers. Do.you have a Facebook account?(I don’t but that’s niether here nor there)With a friends list? Mayb

  • RL

    Also check synthetic happiness: Google “Dan Gilbert asks, Why are we happy?”

  • 20th Level

    @Gideon

    “I really don’t give a shit about gaining the approval of society”

    Your statement is as false as it it is ridiculous. Everybody in society seeks approval from someone, EVERYBODY. Or tell me, how does it feel having no job, no women and no friends? Are you a mountain man living off the land with a cabin in the woods? You don’t need the approval of women to get laid so are you must be either a virgin or a rapist, which one is it? Niether right? Otherwise you wouldn’t be posting on a game blog I suspect.

    Every functioning member of society seeks the approval of someone. It is simply your choice as to what part of society you seek approval from. A black hat hacker/ programmer isn’t going to get much approval from a biker gang. They both claim to be outlaw rebels but they both seek MASSIVE approval from their peers.

    Do you have a Facebook account?(I don’t but that’s niether here nor there)With a friends list? Maybe all you care about is your Modern Warfare ranking/kill count. Maybe you’re a rebel emo hipster who claims to not care about “society” but validation and street cred from your peers is the end all and be all.

    When you are younger you may seek validation from one place but as you get older you may feel the need to look for it somewhere else. Nobody in society is immune, nobody.

  • 20th Level

    Sorry about the double post. I blame Google Android.

  • Gideon

    @20th Level,

    I really think you are projecting your own mindset on to other people.

  • Anonymous

    @Gideon

    You are not ready grasshoppa..

  • KC

    Post #62 is right Roosh; you really are on the verge of a spiritual breakthrough.

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  • Cicero

    My two cents:

    I’m sympathetic to your argument. Nevertheless, the latest economics research on happiness is that actually there is no limit to happiness as income increases for societies as a whole. Another fact: suicide is a top 10 killer of American men. I suspect that most of these suicides or men who are suicidal do not have a stable of adoring women around. Most are unmarried. A substantial number probably have financial problems. Point is that they could be happier in a meaningful way which prolongs their lives and add to really rich experiences where they are just happy to be alive. Putting themselves in environments where they are alpha males, are respected on a daily basis, have good support networks for when things go awry (friends and financially), and can have plenty of sex are all things we can all do to improve our day-to-day happiness and ensure that our depressions, while inevitable, are less severe.

  • Timoteo

    I wrestle with this all the time. The best answer I can give is that happiness is being able to do whatever it is you want to do at the moment.

    Roosh kind of touched on it in the context of goals. There are a couple of schools of thought. Do you set a major goal, and put incredible energy into chasing it, not feeling satisfied until you reach it? (of course, that’s taking into consideration that the goal is achievable in the first place). Or do you set smaller goals, reach them, then set new ones, so that you always feel like you’re moving forward and getting bits of satisfaction that continue to propel you and keep your spirits up? This can be true in the context of chasing women also. There is on one hand oneitis, where you set as a goal banging or girlfriending-up this one chick, and go all out in pursuit of her, or do you approach many, getting bangs along the way so that you are achieving many little victories and feeling a sense of satisfaction to keep you going?

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  • Savoy

    Banging for it’s own sake made me happy for years, than I settled down & have two sons & now all that matters is my legacy as a father. It was a journey that took me away from my native soil for a decade & reading this blog brings back those memories & puts a smile on my face because the journey many of you are on now does have meaning far beyond another notch. All that matters in the end is what we’ve done with the time we’ve had. Happiness won’t last, niether will it’s opposite, time balances & ultimately cancels these feels out for us. Time is like Vegas, you will always love it far more than it will love you. So better hurry up gents, & do all the things you want to do, cause time will not wait for you.

  • http://krauserpua.com Krauser

    This is perceptive writing from you, but I notice you haven’t really referred to having a mission or making deep connections with people. These are the two things that give me sustained happiness.

    Perhaps you’re a born drifter and introvert, and thus happiest when you’re moving, reading, studying rather than forming a web of social ties around you.

    When I lived in Japan I initially loved being a stranger in a strange land and all the fleeting experiences it brings, but after a few years I ached for something more solid and durable. I was tired of investing months in friendships only for the transience of the lifestyle to break them up.

    You are right that your mind quickly normalises the improvements in your condition and begins to look for more, but the examples you use are all relatively superficial improvements rather than deep human ties.

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  • Misery

    I loved reading these comments, just as much as I loved reading the original post. So many of you guys are in so many different places/ages in life and have so many different perspectives. In my case, my young life (up to about 32) I had a great life, I banged girls left and right, became rich in real estate (net worth $3mil), was 5 percent body fat, traveled the world and had the respect and love of family and literally hundreds of friends.

    The last 4 years have been a slow hell, my real estate wealth is gone (due to economy), I’ve gained weight, I’ve become an alcoholic (just on weekends, but still an alcoholic), I absolutely get no looks or flirts from girls anymore, my friends are still there for me, but that doesn’t seem to make me feel any better because I just don’t feel like hanging out anymore.

    So, I’ve been reading roosh and other blogs thinking that the answer may be to travel the world and bang more girls and “feel” better about myself. I even had a nice little plan, summers in russia, and winters in the Phils, and just go back and forth. Well, I think roosh’s last post is giving me second thoughts. I mean, what if in order to get out of this terrible depression, I move to another country only to find that I am even more depressed than before?

    Oh well, what the heck…. i like the “Pack Animal” reference by Shon Starr. I’ve based my entire life on partying and banging 19 yr old girls. Now I’m too old for that (unless I pay for it). Well all my friends are married now and we don’t do that sort of stuff as a “Pack” anymore. Maybe I need to find a new pack.

  • Randy

    Roosh, what do you think of this guide to happiness? I think some of what you say falls right in line with it: http://postmasculine.com/happiness

  • Anonymous

    “The wheat waving next to you is healthy and so fine
    As is dinner with your loved-ones every day
    But your routine is changeless, through the decades of your life
    Green pastures, open spaces, holy ways

    And it must look pretty appealing, the acres of lights
    The crowded festive nights and the millions of others just like you
    Yeah, it must look pretty appealing, this other world of sin
    We keep dreaming of what other people do

    The person sitting next to you is dismal and deranged
    On the bus ride home from work to end your day
    And the food on your table is more plastic than protein
    And your intellect depends on your TV

    And it must look pretty appealing, the pastoral retreat
    The folks on old main street and the few pleasant people just like you
    Yeah, it must look pretty appealing, the simple way of life
    We keep dreaming of what other people do

    But we never do what other people do
    You’re too scared of other people not like you”

  • Long Term Meditator

    Happiness is a chemical phenomenon in your brain.

    Change your brain’s structure and you change your reality.

    A mixed meditation practice of improving your ability to concentrate (concentration is inherently pleasurable) and increasing your baseline level of mindful awareness (so you can see how you cause your own negativity and unhappiness) is a guaranteed recipe to substantially improve a person’s happiness set point, often by way more than 25%.

    Your folly was in looking for happiness in external conditions.

    See http://www.shinzen.org if you are at all interested in what I described above.

  • Anonymous
  • New

    Yeah, I thought happiness meant banging as many women as possible too, and writing about them and their stupid manipulative ways…until I looked in the mirror and realised that I was a complete cock, and there was nothing I could do about that while my self-worth was tied up in whether or not I could pull as many women as possible.

    Be keen to see how you go with the search for what it means to be a man. Keep looking, you might find out one day. Try spending more time with, you know, decent men instead of women. Men who have actual female friends… you could learn something!

    I increased my happiness at least 76.34% when I stopped giving a shit about guys. You wouldn’t believe it though. They keep calling me and hitting on me anyway! It’s great. My Bi-annual Happiness Review shows that my happiness trend continues upwards too, and in inverse proportion to the number of jerks I sleep with, which is at an all time record long-term low of Zero. Somehow I only meet great men these days, so I feel fantastic.

    Wisdom, it’s a beautiful thing. I hope you find some one day. In the meantime, enjoy your fulfilling search for women who don’t threaten your sense of self with non-sexy outfits, and who conform to your idea of appropriate feminine ideas and behaviour. I will continue to read your blog with ‘scientific’ interest.

  • New

    Although I must add, I applaud your brave adventures into the whole ‘women as scientific investigation’ approach, but it really does seem that you’re missing something in the conclusions that you reach. It strikes me that you’re kind of missing an understanding the woman-equivalent of the Higgs-boson field, i.e. the reason why and how women exist in the first place. (It’s not to satisfy you…sorry). I don’t think you’ll find what you’re looking for by smashing uglies together at light speed and seeing what particles fly around in the aftermath.

    The bitterness and dare I say it, alienation? in some of the few posts you’ve painstakingly typed out is pretty evident, I don’t know dude, that attitude will never lead to personal fulfilment or happiness. Good luck though. Seriously.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry to say, but I agree with New. You have a lot of the keys to happiness in place, but if you can’t acknowledge someone elses right to happiness it puts you back to square one on the happiness/enlightenment scale. Just sayin.
    I am a woman and I am quite sure that my sole purpose is not to satisfy any man. Even though that is an aspect of my being that I take very seriously… but not my entire purpose or reason for living.
    Are we allowed to be artists? Musicians? With a day job, too? Really, I am too busy to nag.

    Most of the negative comments towards women seem to be towards those who don’t have any interests other than reality tv.
    You might have to look a little harder, but real women DO exist in the states.

  • another Brazilian

    Well, you can measure suffering. Suffering is objective.

  • Emc2

    “2. Find happiness today. If you’re not capable of enjoying whatever situation you’re facing now, no matter how crappy, nothing will make you happy.”

    Because you adapted to them! :lol:

  • Yams

    Roosh I’ve been reading this book called “The Happiness Trap” because a friend recommended it to me when I was struggling with some personal issues. It blew my mind and I wish I had read this when I was younger because it can be applied to everything. It makes you realize how much worrying about being happy will actually make you more unhappy. Its a total paradigm shift and it goes in line with what you are saying.

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  • Anonymous

    very interesting, thanks Roosh

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