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June 10, 2024

Happiness Is Mistaken For Hedonism

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Success is just a cover for what people genuinely want within it, which is happiness.

Money buys us things and helps us to contribute to causes that make us happy. Playing a role in meaningful and influential projects makes us happy.

It’s no secret that we would benefit from a little more genuine happiness, but I think the majority of us struggle to find it. That’s why I want to make a clear distinction: Let’s not mistake happiness for hedonism.

Hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure and self-indulgence. It’s choosing to feel good in the moment at the expense of how you’ll feel in the future. When we’re guided exclusively by what we want right now we’re setting ourselves up to make unhealthy, immoral, and sometimes regretful decisions.

True, deeply-rooted happiness isn’t experienced in a moment. It’s the recognition that we have integrity and character, that we’lre applying ourselves fully in our lives, and that we’re growing. The Greek’s call this “Eudaimonia” which is a state of personal flourishing.

At the root of the difference between happiness and hedonism is one of humanity’s greatest challenges - to delay gratification. Rather than always doing the thing that makes us feel pleasure in the moment, like having extra dessert or entertaining ourselves by scrolling on social media, we are intentional about the choice we’re making in the moment and how it serves our future self.

To help you step into authentic happiness, here’s a frame of thinking to consider: No matter what choices you’re making you’re giving yourself a gift.

Hedonism is a gift to your current self, and making intentional healthy choices is a gift to your future self.

When you find yourself in a moment trying to evaluate a decision, I’d challenge you to ask this question to steer your thinking: “Would this be a gift to my future self or my current self?”

Not only do those who delay gratification do less things that they later regret, but they place investments that adds to their potential for how much happiness they can feel in the long-term.

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