Updated: Feb 25
Having the opportunity and being able to make choices in life, even when difficult, will trigger a happy feeling in you. It’s about feeling like you have control over your own life. Material comforts are nice, but they don’t seem to have that big impact on people’s happiness levels.
Society has worked very hard to eliminate psychological discomfort with intellectual coddling, safe spaces, and a hyper focus on self-esteem. You would think this could eliminate stress, anxiety and pain – but it doesn’t. The human psyche doesn’t actually do well with perfect comfort and zero difficulty. We become fragile unable to handle the slightest difficult tasks. Challenging situations and the opportunity for growth in life actually make us stronger. As you may have heard before “There is no comfort in the growth zone and there is no growth in the comfort zone”.
Nicholas Taleb coined the term to describe this, he says “Some things benefit from shock, randomness, disorder, stressors, love, adventure, risk and uncertainty”. If we don’t embrace the discomfort of change, we will become so fragile that a single unanticipated hardship will shatter us. There is no word for the opposite of “fragile”.
Even if it were possible to control our environment to shield ourselves from conflict and experience only pleasurable interactions, we would not be happy.
Jen Maffessanti in Epoch Times September 16, 2020 states “Happiness can not be engineered. The tendency of so many generally well-meaning people, from academics to helicopter parents, to socially engineer a perfectly happy society with no strife, no discord, no struggle, will always have the opposite effect. And while freedom is no guarantee of happiness, it is essential if we are ever to be able to find it on our own”.