Why I Gave Up On Happiness

Posted in Focused Living, Mindful Moment, Podcast | 5 comments

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I, Patrick Mathieu, have given up my quest for happiness.

That’s right, I am no longer striving to achieve happiness.

A few weeks ago I wrote about my happiness experiment. I also wrote about how I thought that the key to happiness was in carefully choosing your reactions. But now I’ve come to realize how foolish that is and I’ve given it up.

Why? Because “happiness” is a noun. A thing. A thing that can be lost or found. And I now realize that I don’t want to have happiness, I want to be happy.

The difference isn’t just semantics or word games. It makes a real difference in your life whether you are chasing some elusive state of mind or actually embodying a way of being.

So I am going to BE happy.

Correction – I AM HAPPY.

The Power of Mortality™ is about cherishing your life and recognizing it for the “limited time offer” that it truly is. By forcing ourselves to come face-to-face with our own mortality, we come to realize that underneath it all – we are happy to be alive!

Not convinced?

Imagine that you were drowning and someone pulled your head above the water so that you could breathe fresh air. In that moment you would understand just how happy you are to be alive. So the next time you are having trouble finding happiness, I invite you to hold your breath. And keep holding it. Hold it … … … until you remember that you’re happy to be alive.

Happiness is being.

Everything else is a story that we’ve added on to make things more complicated.

I’ve given up the story.



  1. I’ve been seriously holding my breath after I had read only the part where you said that you would give up :-)

    Thank you for this insight into your state of mind that you’re giving us here. It’s invaluable, full of energy and I can feel that you’re writing from the heart.

    Thank you.

  2. Patrick, sometimes gurus like you end up saying the same thing over and over. I like this change you are making and the freshness with which you are tackling some pidgeon-holed topics. I too was always looking for happiness. Happiness in my work, happiness in the job I had done raising our 3 girls, happiness with the way people see and react to me. What good is all that if I’m not HAPPY myself. One little verb that impacts all of the above. How important are all of the above if I’m not happy. I’m too old to hold my breath for too long so I hope I learn this lesson real quick. Keep up your ” fresh appeal” and we’ll all benefit. Love and friendship this holiday season. Debbie

  3. The phrase, “limited time offer” slammed me like a ton of bricks! I had been acting like I had forever.

    Thank you for the awakening.

    I am happy. I am happy. I am happy. Damn it, I am happy now!

  4. I just gave up my happiness (for real) and was hoping to find somebody else like me. Well this is just plaing with words..
    Let me explain if you still didn’t get it – I don’t want to be happy. Instead, I am balanced. Happiness is futile as it is a quest for one sided life. Like car battery that won’t work without negative side, neither do we. If we are happy and elated, sooner or later something happens that brings us back to balance and vice versa.
    So I rather ask myself quality questions so I bring myself back to balance such us what is negative on that positive thing/action/event? or what is positive on that negative thing/action/event?

    I hope you got what I was trying to say…have a good one

  5. Let us be honest, at least, and admit to ourselves that any possible sustainment of the delusion known as happiness only stems from our forced ignoring of the hard reality of life’s finitude. Children soften the blow of mortality and give it a warm, soothing glow. But there are hardy, solitary souls amongst the throngs of morons in the world who are willing to accept fate and die alone. These manner of men are undeniably of a higher calibre than the typical low-wattage member of the populace will ever be willing to admit; for such an admittance would render everything he holds near and dear to be but a passing fancy.

    Of course, all of this is not to say that the titanic struggle against the inevitable doom each of us face is in any way dishonorable. One cannot be blamed for wanting to soften the blow of crushing fate. The greatest men alive and dead are those who provided the means with which to succeed in further prolonging our ability to forget our own mortality. Technological progress viewed in this way makes much more sense and is a much more welcome thing.

    I will leave it up to some other self-proclaimed grand thinker to decide whether or not the problem of technological progress will eventually prove to be more of a curse than a blessing for the human race as a whole. My only parting comment on this problem, that of overpopulation, is to suggest that if it were to really come down to the wire, the countries possessing the most raw materials and food resources would feed themselves first and foremost, to the detriment of millions of unfortunates living in developing nations.

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