Happiness is available to everyone, but pleasure isn’t…


I read a Facebook status by James Smith this week and these words above jumped out… Happiness is available to everyone and pleasure isn’t.

He was speaking about money and happiness and explaining that all money does is provide you with more pleasure and not more happiness. He raises a point that if you go to Asia, you will see people with 1% of what you have happy. This immediately reminded me of my time travelling and I remember Cambodia. It was one of the poorest places I had visited, and I remember as a westerner getting quite a shock, but everyone always appeared so happy.

James continues that “happiness is family, friends and a job that doesn’t suck the soul from you” , whereby money helps with pleasure, cars, nights out, designer clothes etc… but be mindful not to confuse the two.

If I were to look at the two contrasting sentences, written out right in front of my very eyes, it makes me realize that it is always the above that I would choose first. Beyond our basic needs, money is just buying us more pleasure. I am not saying this is a bad thing by the way, however, my pursuits for more money are simply to seek more pleasures, but even with all the money in the world if I did not have family and good friends, I imagine I would be lonely anyway.

 “The best things in life are free” is something that we hear often and when stripped right back to its core its true. It certainly is for me, I can exercise for free, its free to take my dog out, writing does not cost me anything, and I have family and friends around me.

I am currently watching the walking dead hit TV show which centers around the idea of a Zombie Apocalypse – but using this hypothetical example here, if I were to find myself in this situation with the world ending…what would it take to make me happy? It is all the things I have just mentioned. Again, strip everything back and there is ‘nothing’ left, it is the things that do not cost any money that would make you happy.

In truth, realistically we do not actually need that much to be happy; we just think we need to.  Even the most basic of pleasures are cost effective for a lot of us, a drive out for a nice coffee for example.

Sometimes, we need to just strip everything back to realize this. It is often relative to what we are experiencing. For example, when I go wild camping and then spend a weekend sleeping on a hard floor, my bed becomes a luxury to me on arrival home, but my bed is not something I often give much consideration day to day. Gratitude certainly helps with recognizing this and therefore it is a fundamental wellbeing tool. 

It is not easy though. In the book ‘A monks guide to happiness’ by Gelong Thubten, he explains that in the modern world we are bombarded by messages towards this materialistic culture.  Whether we are watching TV, browsing the internet, or simply walking the streets, we are shown advertisements to buy a product to become more beautiful, respected, efficient. It thrives off our principle that if we just get that next thing, we will feel that bit happier. It explains in the book that it portrays this image of “you and your life are not enough” and we need “more” and when we are inundated with such messages it’s pretty difficult to feel satisfied with our lives the way we they are, as there is always something else we need… it is like chasing the end of the rainbow.

I am also going to be honest and say we all need reminding of the above from time to time. There is no denying I often chase the end of the rainbow, looking for that ‘next’ thing and there will be times when I forget all of what I have just written. There will also potentially become a time when you forget you have read this. You will see the next Instagram advert with the latest ‘must have’ and off you go, I will to. Again, I am not saying this is a problem, but I am starting to understand how pleasure and happiness are most definitely two separate concepts.

I would love to know peoples thoughts on this?


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