inspiring focus, simplicity, and purpose

What Is Not Happiness And The Reasons Why People Are Unhappy


For centuries, people had been seeking happiness. Everybody wants it, but it seems like nobody has it. Everywhere you go – at work, at home, in school, at the market, in church – you see people struggling; they exist but are not alive, as if they are designed to be slightly dissatisfied with everything.

Male and female, rich and poor, young and old, no one is free. Everyone is in a cloud of discontent. For all the things they do have, they’re always wanting something they don’t and can’t have… to be happy.

As if happiness is an impossible dream that one should forever chase. As if happiness is always there on some end of time, future dimension, not available in this present full of disappointments.

Maybe you are also one of the crowd and you want to get out. To stop struggling. To be free. To be happy.

Sometimes it’s best to realize what something is not to be able to understand it. What is NOT happiness? And perhaps by understanding, there could be a slight chance you can achieve it. Finally.

Below are some things which most people mistake as happiness:

1. Pleasure – People most often confuse pleasure with happiness. Partying, boozing, orgies, and taking drugs are pleasures. But they aren’t happiness. You can do all these without really being happy. They’re just that. Pleasures.

2. Convenience – Convenience is not happiness. Fathers who work long hours without sleeping just to provide for their children are inconvenient. But they are happy. Happiness is much more than convenience.

3. Love – This is controversial, but love is not happiness. In fact, being in love means admitting that you aren’t going to be happy all the time. Love is sacrificing for the one beloved. Love is the willingness for him/her to be happy even if you’re not the one to make him/her happy. How many of your friends who are in love right now are lonely? No, happiness can’t possibly be love.

4. Success – This one’s pretty easy. How many successful people do you know are happy? Or contented? One, two? None? Success doesn’t guarantee happiness. Sometimes it’s the harbinger of extreme depression, which leads to hopelessness and eventually suicide. You know the phrase, “it’s lonely at the top?”

5. Wealth – Much like success, money can’t promise happiness. It can’t buy love, how much more happiness? You can have all the money in the world, and you can still feel discontented.

6. Knowledge – Studies show that the higher a person’s IQ is, the less happy he is. Possibly because he’s always analytical and always wants an explanation for everything. Perhaps. But it’s certain that intelligence can’t give you happiness either.

7. Possessions – This is the most common refuge of people seeking happiness. They buy and buy, acquire and acquire, hoping someday somehow they will be able to get that something that would at last make them happy. But as soon as they gain something, a fleeting happiness-like feeling comes, which soon fades. And they try to pursue happiness again by possessing.


Are you still confused? Clearly, these things are not happiness. If all these are not it, then what is it, really?

Probably by now you’re thinking about your millionaire next-door neighbor with a luxurious house, stable job, beautiful wife, great kids, and a sports car, and you’re wondering why the heck he is still stressed and unhappy.

If you knew the reasons why people are unhappy, then you might be able to understand happiness more. No matter what is a person’s status in life, the signs are consistent why he is unhappy.

Here are some of those signs:

1. He caters hate in his heart. When hatred is allowed to stay in the heart, it becomes bitterness. Bitterness drains the life and energy out of anybody. It paralyzes and inhibits anyone from having a free and happy life.

2. He is anxious all the time. Worrying doesn’t have any use but to cart off happiness. It doesn’t solve a problem or influence the result of anything. Anxiety only affects the worrier. It makes him, well, not happy.

3. His life is complicated. He runs three companies simultaneously, has five wives and seven mistresses, twenty-four children from nineteen different women, a board director of the homeowners association, president of the national businessmen’s club, avid golfer and congressman. No wonder he is unhappy.

4. He hoards and doesn’t give. He keeps everything for himself and only cares about himself. He doesn’t need anyone, and in effect no one needs him either. This hoarding isn’t only about money and things; it’s also about compassion, time, and talents. As Chris McCandless said before he died, “Happiness is only real when shared.”

5. He expects too much. Expectations are the source of life’s stress, frustrations, annoyance, misery, and pain. He creates these expectations in his head of what things should be, what his wife and kids and employees should do, what life should be like, and when they are not met happiness goes out of the window.


Do you recognize any of these signs in yourself? Are you starting to realize what hinders you to become truly happy?