The Unhappiness Route to Happiness

Last year I wrote an article on happiness and how ‘making great meaning in life’ can contribute to true happiness. I said that living is truly about making great meaning. Now, I would like to add a little more to it, and it is:

“Living is about making great meaning by breaking uncertainty and by constantly paying prices.” Let’s see what it means:

Fundamentally, happiness is what people want from life. But, happiness is different for different people. So, what are the factors that cause happiness? For some people, it is financial security and for some it is doing something meaningful in life and for some it is X and Y. Great! It is great that people know what will make them happy. So, if X is fulfilled a person will be happy. Though this seems logical, this line of thinking doesn’t align with so many unhappy people in the world. Because if this were true, then there should be many more happy people than they are in this world.

In fact, I feel that the problem of happiness lies in the question itself. I think the question ‘what makes you happy?’ is wrong and it doesn’t make sense. I think a much better question to ask is ‘what makes you unhappy?’. Because for any being, at time ‘zero’, the default state is actually a ‘happy’ state and then ‘unhappiness’ (pain) is what happens later in time.

So, if you crack unhappiness, then it will lead you to happiness. Now, since the ‘happy’ state is the default state at time zero, the ‘unhappy’ state is actually caused by the misalignment between one’s machinery and one’s environment. Therefore, to really attack such an unhappy state, there are two ways of doing so:

1. Change your machinery (belief systems, interpretations, actions). This will help one to change the equation between the machinery and the environment. It could remove unhappiness by nullifying the relation between machinery and environment. If one is failing to accomplish some X in life continuously or if one is repeatedly doing a mistake, then chances are very high that there is a belief system that is coming in the way to adapt one’s machinery.

2. Change your environment. It is not possible to change your environment, but it is possible to learn about one’s environment so that one can effectively work in such environment. At time zero, the environment is completely uncertain and it leads to an ‘unhappy’ state. But, the truth is that uncertainty is the reality of our environment. So, one cannot wait for certainty to happen. Instead, one has to make certainty out of uncertainty by strategically breaking and managing uncertainty.

At time ‘zero’, when the default state was ‘happy’ state, the ineffectiveness to deal with the then present uncertainty is what causes ‘unhappiness’. Unhappiness is not caused by the lack of fulfillment of goals to happiness. Instead, unhappiness is actually caused by the ineffectiveness to break and manage uncertainty.

Therefore, for people to be happy, they should consciously break and manage uncertainty. This is why I say that ‘Living is about making great meaning by breaking uncertainty and by constantly paying prices.’