The Work is the Path

February 15, 2017 – 6:55 am

The single worst attitude in psychology in the past 20 years has been the deification of happiness. A generation of young people “just want to be happy.” After tens of thousands of clients, I can assure you that they feel worse than ever.

Firstly, they are either not improving at all or are most likely getting worse. Believing they should just accept their situation rather then be “unhappy with their circumstances”, they no longer look critically at it and seek betterment. As Mike Rowe has said, there’s plenty of work needing to be done, and the current generations aren’t doing it.

Secondly, since they don’t FEEL better, and things are not magically becoming better, they start blaming others for this situation: government, military, education, corporations, tree huggers, war-mongers, hippies, city officials, neighbors, family, genetically, socially, and financially privileged,… or religion.

The person you blame is the one that controls you. No one can change you, but you. If you blame anyone or anything, you will never be happy.

Because happiness is a byproduct of striving for betterment: it’s a way of driving down the road, not a place you can pull over and camp.

Happiness is like strength. You don’t decide to be strong. You go through suffering, day after day, lifting weight up and putting weight down. Over time, you’re stronger. In the future, you will be weaker again. The only way to become stronger is to repeat the process; and to not be attached to the degree of outcome, to just quietly, humbly - do the work.

You need to honestly look at your point of origin; you need a repaired vehicle to drive (so stop complaining and get to the repairs); you need fuel and a map, a willingness to overcome getting lost and running into obstacles, and a realization that there is no journey without a destination.

If you really want to be happy, stop acting like it’s an attitude. You don’t have a right to be happy. You have a right to pursue the process that brings happiness as a byproduct of hard work.

Look at yourself and everything that needs to be improved, set a plan, get a few allies and teachers (but don’t ask for or accept a hand to hold) and get to work. Somewhere along the way you realize happiness is a process, just like strength.

Very Respectfully,
Scott B. Sonnon

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