“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and the end of human existence.” - Aristotle
And this has been believed as the sole true purpose of life by many. This belief not only has influenced our primary goals in life but has also influenced our actions to the extent that we want to attain happiness in any way. If you’re reading this as a piece of your life’s story, you’re not alone. Look around you and you will realize that most people are in the pursuit of happiness as an end goal.
This combined with the extent of our materialistic fabrication can influence us to look for instant gratification through impulse buying, hoarding things we don’t need, working hard to seek the approval of others or simply booking an exotic stay-cation in the hope that a good instagram feed and a getaway will make us happy. The funny thing is that these things work. But the question you must ask yourself is for how long?
How long before you go out looking for yet another distraction or thing to acquire in the pursuit of happiness? Is this really about an end goal? Have we understood happiness as a standard set by society or a byproduct of our usefulness?
Oftentimes in our everyday life, our means of attaining happiness are around experiences like getting dinner with friends, shopping, showing up at work or simply planning a holiday. While these activities can add to our happiness in the moment of its occurrence, they seldom add meaning to our lives.
Usefulness on the other hand can truly contribute to your happiness. When you create something that isn’t just useful to you but also to those around you, you’re adding meaning to your life which in turn is adding to your feelings of happiness.
Your usefulness when in alignment with your values and passions can lead you to a richer, happier, more purposeful life. A quote by Ralph Walde Emerson explains beautifully the purpose of life in the quote given below.
Emerson says: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
This might sound like a mighty process or transformation but really all you have to do is ask yourself - what am I doing in my life that is making a difference? Afterall, the true purpose of life is to make the world a bit better than before we were born.
Here are some ways you can immediately take charge of your happiness by making a difference:
Call a friend and ask if you can help with something
Extend your support at work for something that is beyond your responsibility
Take action on your passion by investing in self learning
Offer mentorship in your area of expertise
Ultimately just like happiness, usefulness too is a mindset. And it starts with a conscious decision - to be better, do better and feel better in every area of your life. And if you are one who likes to be incharge - Start Now. Try to not overthink the end goal, but be sure to enjoy the process.