Why gratitude is dangerous and happiness isn’t the goal

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Gratitude and happiness can be dangerous.

Yes, that’s counter to what most gurus and self-help “memes” will lead you to believe. But I stand by my claim.

First, let’s look at gratitude.

There are plenty of people in this world who use “gratitude” as an excuse for guilt and stagnation in their lives. They use gratitude as an excuse not to reach for more in their lives.

“Oh, I should just be happy with what I have.”

“There are people in the world who are worse off than me, so I feel guilty about wanting more.”

“My parents, my grandparents, had a much tougher upbringing, so what do I have to complain about?”

Here’s the deal: Don’t you ever feel guilty about wanting more in your life.

And by “more” I don’t mean hollow achievements, simply dollars and cents, or a paycheck for a job that leaves you unfulfilled.

By “more” I mean a life of freedom and fulfillment. You deserve it, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting it — and attaining it.

That’s why it’s vital to pair gratitude with a sense of forward-looking purpose. Be happy and thankful for where you are — but don’t be afraid to reach for your purpose.

You may also think that “happiness” is the goal. It’s not.

For years, I was unfulfilled. Did that mean I didn’t have happy days? Of course not.

Days when I was with my family, on vacation, etc. — they were happy.

By the same token, when you’re fulfilled, can you be sad? Absolutely. Shit happens. People get sick, people get die. You have rough days.

Fulfillment is about living a life of meaning. It’s lasting. It’s not about fleeting desires or pleasures.

Happiness isn’t the goal. The goal is a life of meaning … a life of fulfillment.

Gratitude and happiness are important, but when you make then the end-goals, they can be dangerous in your life.

Please watch above or click here to listen to the full podcast episode.

 

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