I think we confuse what we ask for, with what we really want. The classic example is the chap who goes into a hardware store to buy an electric drill. He thinks he wants a drill, but what he really wants, is some holes in various materials over a period of time. Drilling (excuse the pun) down even deeper, you could say that he would probably expect 3047 holes of various sizes drilled in wood, 1310 holes drilled in metal and 2310 holes drilled in masonry over a period of, say 5 years. If he pays R400 for this device, these “holes” have cost him just under 6c each to drill.
My marketing lecturer at university used to always say, “sell the sizzle, not the sausage.”
Life is a lot like this. We want health, wealth and happiness, but what are these things? Do we even know what they are? Can we define them? Take health as an example. Do we want good health, or do we actually want to never get sick or sore. How would we die then? What we probably want is to not be paralyzed or dependant on drugs or machines or die before our three score and ten.
Wealth is relative. We’d like to be fabulously wealthy, but then we’d be able to afford a lifestyle that would probably lead to bad health, and bang goes our happiness as well.
Which brings me to happiness. What is happiness? Why can’t some people find this elusive state of mind? Are we actually happy and not even know it?
I had a most unfortunate experience last night where I had to explain to a suicidal friend what happiness actually was, and man, it was difficult. She had already swallowed the pills and was slipping fast, and I was really scratching for that definition that would change a persons mind and give her the will to live. No stomach pumps and observation can stop someone doing this terrible deed, if they really set their mind on it. You can use all of the arguments about grieving family left behind, and the unfairness of it all, and the old, “it can’t really be that bad.” But we just say these things. We don’t actually know what it’s like, to reach that point in ones life.
And then out of the blue it came to me. It’s all relative. By prematurely taking ones life, not only are you stopping the pain, but you are also depriving yourself FOREVER of the things that give YOU joy. If 90% of your life is pain and misery and heartache, there is 10% of the time that you are happy and joyful. I asked her, “what makes you smile?” And she said, “my daughter, and friends and family and comedies and….” And then she got it. She would be depriving herself of everything. The bad AND the good. And that did it, but left me with a brand new appreciation of life. However shitty and painful it appears to be on the surface, there are things worth living for. Many, many millions of things.