How Just Being Satisfied Leads to a Happier Life
Being satisfied is one of the greatest rewards we can experience in this life, yet many take it for granted. Here is why being satisfied leads to happiness.
We are never too far away from satisfaction, yet our lives demand that it is impossible to find. For many, we are stuck in a hedonistic cycle, constantly in the pursuit of more pleasure.
The unfortunate reality for humanity is that the law of diminishing returns stops our happy lives. In one sense, the accumulation of life experiences provides us with memories to be grateful for. But on the other, too many pleasurable experiences can leave a sour taste in our mouths.
Diminishing returns is the idea that as we consume things, their value diminishes over time. With each taste or experience, we grow to find it less enjoyable, and in turn, less satisfying.
When you are hungry and order a pizza, you can feel the excitement to eat one slice as you wait for it. Your mouth is watering, and your belly is screaming for its hunger to be gone.
Once the pizza arrives, you open the box and take the first bite. It is splendid, and happiness is at its highest. However, the second bite is not as satisfying as the first, neither is the third or fourth. Also, as you continue to eat, you start to feel full and struggle to move.
Eventually, you finish the pizza and do not feel as good. If anything, you feel worse for not ordering something healthier or cooking instead. At that moment, you realise that the pleasurable experience only lasted for but a moment. Your joy has vanished, and you are no longer satisfied with life. Then, the cycle repeats. We look for our next high, the next enjoyable experience to bring about the happiness we seek.
I suggest to you that a state of constant happiness is a foolish idea. Although I respect the great minds of western philosophy and often reference their work, this idea makes no sense. It even makes less sense now as we live in a world where pleasure is so easily achieved.
You do not have to look far for your next partner. All you need to do is scroll through a dating app. If you are bored, you no longer have to think about what to do. Instead, scroll through Instagram and find happiness there.
It is a Western idea that we must be happy at all times. However, what if happiness is not what we seek? Instead, I would argue that to be satisfied is a nobler and more fulfilling pursuit. For it is here, we learn the in-between.
Happiness Is but an Impossible Quest
To sustain anything in life, two things are necessary. The first is fuel. That is the energy that is constantly being pumped to the thing to keep it going. The second is a power source. That is the thing that allows the energy to flow.
Happiness is not separate from this law, and it is our responsibility to find the sources that fuel it. Thankfully for us, they are not too hard to find because pleasure is an intense feeling that we can distinguish with ease.
Happiness and pleasure can not be separated. They are not the same thing, yet happiness is rarely found outside of pleasurable experiences. After all, it is the attainment of pleasure that leads to our happiness. And that is the very reason why it is but an impossible quest.
Pleasure only lasts for a moment. In some rare cases, it can last for longer. These rare cases are at the heights of a humans experience. For example, holding your newborn baby and living through moments of joy that bring us to tears.
Nevertheless, these pleasures also fade. It is not sustainable because the sources are not long-lasting. They are short yet powerful experiences that last for a moment then fade. Whether we like it or not, our happiness is part of this equation.
Due to the close link between pleasure and happiness, we will always find ourselves in a diminishing state of happiness if we pursue it. Both the beauty and downfall of pleasure is that it does not last.
For if pleasure could be sustained, then we would never be able to experience the feelings of gratitude. There would be nothing to be thankful for because our happy moments would always be present with us.
So the beauty of pleasure being short-lived is our capacity to experience appreciation. But of course, this makes happiness a short-lived experience too, and often leaves us thinking what is next?
The Sadness of the Hedonist
Unfortunately, those who live life to attain happiness will never find it. For it is not something to be held, but something to be experienced. We will never be able to fulfil our desire for pleasure, nor should we ever try to.
The hedonist (someone who pursues pleasure for life) is constantly seeking the next thrill. You would think they would be unsuccessful in doing so, but their success is what brings them sadness.
There is always someone to compare their lives to. There is always something better than what they have. There is always a higher standard they can attain. To ensure happiness is maintained, the hedonist must run from pleasure to pleasure without a break.
Like a hamster on a wheel, there is no time to stop. The accumulation of pleasurable experiences is what dictates happiness here. But with each one, their ability to experience happiness from it decreases. As a result, they end up bringing themselves to a sad state.
Why It Is So Hard to Find Satisfaction
In some sense, satisfaction is easy to attain. We do not need much to live a life that satisfies our needs and desires. A balanced diet, good relationships and a job that we find rewarding are enough.
I would argue that the majority of us in the western world are privileged enough to be in a position of satisfaction. However, attaining satisfaction is hard at the same time. Thanks to our westernised ideas of happiness, things never feel right when we are not happy.
To be in a job that is not putting a smile on our face feels wrong. To have a life partner that no longer makes us laugh makes us feel unsettled. And a nutritious meal twice in a row is upsetting to our tastebuds.
The happiness seeking part of us is still very much alive and active. And whether we like it or not, it will forever be there because we are pleasure orientated beings.
We need it to be there, for it encourages us to seek out new things and potentially bring about more joy in our lives. Yet still, it is easy to let it take over our lives and never be satisfied with what we have.
Within our very nature, we have a dilemma to solve. The joy of life is not in the quest for happiness, nor is it found in never pursuing pleasurable experiences. It is found in-between the two, and here is where satisfaction lies.
If we were satisfied, we would live happier lives. Satisfaction can be maintained as its source is not an experience. Instead, it is our capacity to be grateful for what we have.
True happiness is not a flourishing of overwhelming pleasure in life. It is a flourishing ability to experience joy in one’s satisfaction. When we learn to do this, we can find fulfilment.
I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.