Someone asked me the other day what the difference is between love and infatuation and with that at the back of my mind, as I watched a Steve Jobs speech (posted below), it made me think. What struck me was that the answer is really the difference between real lasting happiness and hedonic pleasure.
Drug addiction is this choice taken to the extreme. A moment’s rush now in exchange for a worsened state when you come down. I’ve read that the single best predictor of success is the ability to postpone gratification. I think this fits in with the last few posts I have made.
People often ask me what is the secret to being happy. It’s actually really simple. Love is the path to happiness. It sounds trite, like a hallmark card, but it’s true. It’s true in a deeper way than people realise. Think about this.
- You’ll spend about a third of most days at work, so if you don’t love what you do and who you do it with, it’s going to be very hard to be happy.
- You’ll probably spend most time outside of work with your family, so it’s going to be very hard for you to be happy, if you don’t love all of them.
- If you feel jealousy or animosity when you are with friends or acquaintances, then it is going to be very hard for you to feel very happy in their company.
- If you do not love your home, your car and so on, it will be hard for you to feel happy in the time you spend in them.
- If you do not love yourself, the time that you spend dwelling on your own thoughts and even in your dreams isn’t going to be a lot of fun, is it?
- Our ultimate destiny is to die, we all know this, so if we do not come to accept, peacefully, this inevitability our life cannot be peaceful. It will instead be filled with a nagging anxiety until it happens.
As I observe most people, I see that few have any real passion for how they spend most of their time. The most common hobby is watching television. Passion comes from your pursuit of what interests you. It is never broadcast by mainstream media. What comes from the mass market is infatuation. Fads and trends that will be forgotten about next year. Gossip and Celebrities that will be discarded next week. Cravings and obsessions that come quickly and disposably.
Anything that lasts and sustains requires deep roots and an investment of time and effort. Fast food is quick, easy and convenient, but it doesn’t provide the same nutritional sustenance as a wholesome dinner.
Infatuations can be fulfilled conveniently, vicariously and require little of you. Love is inconvenient and requires devotion and you to invest lots of time and effort. The amount of happiness in your life is proportionate to the amount of love you feel, which depends on the effort you invest in it.
When our life is based on infatuations, our emotions fluctuate wildly with each rise and fall of the roller-coaster.
When we love the people around us, the environment around us and most importantly our inner landscape of our thoughts, happiness is inevitable. And stable.
It is only our thoughts, that hold us apart from others, that hold us apart from happiness. So to be happy make peace with everyone and everything. Either in person or just in your head. Not for their sake, but for yours.
The only barrier to happiness are our own thoughts… and those we can change.
I wrote this post to share my thoughts from this Steve Jobs speech.