Happiness is one of the few things which all, or at least most, people want. We strive for it, and we evaluate our lives on how happy we were – how happy we were in a relationship, how happy our family made us, how happy our pets make us. Sometimes, these things do not make us happy, they can be conflictual, problematic… and it leaves us wanting more.
Happiness can be defined as getting what we want. No one was miserable or sad by getting the job they wanted to get, or buying that car they wanted. Rather, we are not happy when we do not manage to succeed in what we want. However, if we realise that happiness comes in the form of achieved wants, then part of this is also the action leading us to this achieved want.
I can’t buy the car I want without money, and I can’t get that promotion at work without giving my all at my job. Definitely, others may give us our wants – like buy us the phone we’ve been desiring, but that happiness is more short-lived than the happiness that comes from working at a job we enjoy already, to use that money we saved up for that phone.
However, some wants can be impossible to achieve. I might want to arrive at work on time, but there is a lot of traffic on the road and I know I’m going to be late. I can either choose to keep my want on the impossible task of arriving on time, or I can change my want to arriving safely. Or, I can realise the point behind the want – that of trying to show my boss how diligent I am. So instead, my want can be achieved not just by arriving on time, but by showing it in my work once I’m there. By adapting my wants to my situation, I’m more likely to achieve them, and thus also be happier.