The New York Times magazine ran an article that was simply called "Happiness 101." They want to get to the root of what really makes people happy. A team of researchers did extensive studies, and they say that the way in which Americans, and people in general, typically go about their quest to find happiness is totally the wrong way. People naturally think that if we can experience pleasure and more and more of it that will bring me my ultimate sense of happiness. Yet researchers said that this isn't the way to go about it. In fact, they say for anyone who thinks this way they are on the hedonic treadmill.
The idea of hedonic comes from hedonism, the idea of the pursuit of pleasure. These people are just like a junkie. Just as a junkie when he experiences his first high, his next quest in life is to experience that high again, but he has to buy more and more drugs and take more and more shots in order to experience it. So it is with pleasure. In order for us to try to find that sense of fulfillment we've got to constantly up the ante and constantly up the ante and constantly up the ante, and at the end of the day that hedonic treadmill doesn't leave us fulfilled. It's quite the opposite. It leaves us empty.
The fascinating thing about this article is not the problem that they revealed, but the solution that they suggest—ultimate happiness in life is found when you give your life away. These researchers say that if you want to be happy, pour your life out through acts of service. It's only when I go to the Union Rescue Mission that I really find happiness. If I really want to find fulfillment in my life I need to give more money to that charitable cause. If I really want to find fulfillment in my life I have ...
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