In life, a majority of us always strive to make ourselves feel happier in every way possible. But one HUGE stumbling block often presents itself on our paths whilst we’re trying to improve our lives with sustainable happiness. This “stumbling block” is “pleasure”.
Pleasure can make us feel amazing, it can give us a tremendous natural “high”, which can sometimes last for a long time. However, it ALWAYS fades over time, and it can never be truly sustainable.
Happiness on the other hand is completely different. It is sustainable and can create true everlasting joy in our lives. The key to becoming happy, comes from learning to tell the difference between “pleasure and happiness”!
So how can you do that? Pleasure and happiness can seem so similar sometimes, it can be difficult to tell which is which. But through assessing the situation and its potential outcomes, you can tell whether something is going to lead to happiness or pleasure.
Ask yourself, “Is this going to make me happy? Or does it just offer me a temporary pleasure?” Doing so will force you to make BETTER decisions in life, so that you’ll be making larger moves towards happiness, instead of short-lived pleasures.
The main obstacle we have to overcome when deciding which route to take, is temptation. Temptation can be one of the hardest things to avoid and NOT give in to. However, if you can master your mind, knowing when a pleasure is trying to “lure you in”, you will be able to beat it.
For example, lets say “Joe” is trying to lose weight. He knows that becoming healthier will help him live a happier life in numerous ways.
One day his friend offers him a chocolate bar whilst they’re traveling on the train. Joe’s immediate reaction comes from temptation, “that chocolate bar would taste great, and I love chocolate” his mind thinks.
However, another voice then appears in his mind, which tells him that it WON’T help him on his journey to weight loss and a happier life overall.
So Joe has two choices, “short term pleasure, or long term happiness?”
This may seem like such a small and minute scenario, but you’ll be surprised as to how POWERFUL controlling small pleasures like this can become. The truth is there are MANY circumstances like this one in most people’s daily lives, where they give in to short term pleasures. It’s all of these “small” choices that ultimately will lead them to happiness or further dissatisfaction in life.
Getting back to our example. If Joe says “yes” to his temptations, he will have gained nothing, and lost the start of what COULD be his “winning momentum” for happiness.
If Joe forces his mind to become serious, and asks himself, “will this give me short term pleasure, or happiness?” The answer will become clear, and he’ll be far more likely to “pass” on the offer, as he knows it’ll benefit him more in the long run.
From small actions big changes occur over time. If you can learn to take the actions that will lead you on a path towards real, sustainable happiness, then over time your actions will drastically transform your life for the better.
In the moment, these decisions and “guilty pleasures” feel so insignificant, like they don’t have “that” much of an effect on our lives. However, in reality they do, as you’re reinforcing the belief that “giving into temptation” is ok, and that as long as you don’t give into very “bad” temptations in life, you’re still going to end up happy sooner or later.
The mind is like a powerful computer, that has “smart technology” installed within it. This means that it learns to react and “act” in the way we like it to most. So if you give into temptation often, it’ll begin to believe that this is what you want, since you do it so often. Then it’ll become a part of what you believe to be your “natural state”, and each and every day it’ll become more “hard-wired” into your programming.
However, we DO have the choice to “un-do” this wiring. Through simply noticing temptations, and asking ourselves the question, “Will this make me happy? Or does it simply offer a short term pleasure?” If you can answer this question truthfully and then act on your BEST interests, you will begin to lead a happier life.
Try to relate the above example to your life, can you think of any occasions like this that are relevant to you and your goals? I’m sure you can. However, don’t beat yourself up over it, this is the beginning of a new era for you, as you now know how to avoid pleasure instead of side-stepping happiness.
Use this method in your daily life as often as you can, notice how much temptation is around you and how many things lead to “pleasure” instead of “happiness”.
You’ll soon start looking at areas of your life which you realise only offer you short term pleasure. Things such as careers, relationships, hobbies and more. If they aren’t making you happy, then you should do something about them, as we all deserve to be happy in life.
Overall, if you want to lead a happier life and move towards your dreams and goals, then you need to start deciphering whether decisions are going to lead you to “pleasure” or “happiness”.