We started this conversation discussing the relationship between happiness and personal development or individual growth.
We explored the concept that the key to success is happiness and not the happiness found in material objects or even in our relationship with others, rather the source of all real happiness…our inner happiness.
Pleasure as a Personal Happiness Strategy
Yes, you know intuitively that finding and experiencing pleasure is part of being happy but you might not think of seeking out pleasure as a personal development strategy, but the fact is that the desire for pleasure is what drives all human behavior, this according to the greatest wisdom traditions and a whole host of psychologists.
Pleasure is often interpreted (or more accurately misinterpreted) to mean or to be associated with “sensuality” or “lust.” This is why, sometimes, the word pleasure gets a bad rap, because it is so often associated with addiction, sloth, greed, overindulgence – all the “deadly sins.”
I think, however, that there are better definitions and descriptions for what it means, and feels like, to experience pleasure. Yes, pleasure can be associated with closeness or intimacy, but, we also experience pleasure from family, friendship, art, beauty as well as our accomplishments.
But if we look more deeply we find that it’s the desire for pleasure that is the motivation behind all action. The truth is that everything and anything that we have aspired to and achieved produces feelings of pleasure. The sense of pleasure that we receive from these achievements of our aspirations is what adds the feelings of richness to life.
What role does pleasure play in personal growth?
In the post, “Finding Your Unique Purpose,” we learned that one of the greatest and most powerful tasks in anyone’s personal development is to become fully committed to discovering their true purpose in life. This is simply another way of saying, that to be successful, not only in business but in all of life, you must have a real passion for what it is you want to do. And how do you discover what you have a real passion for? Simple, turn your attention inward and feel how much pleasure it brings you. Passion or purpose is the engine and pleasure is the fuel of motivation.
One thing I can guarantee is, for those who wish to succeed in life on any foundation other than that which they have a passion for, will most often fail or be only marginally successful, however, even if it there is monetary success, it will be the result of hard work in the truest sense of the word; without pleasure that’s all it can be.
When you were doing something that you have a passion for and find pleasure in, then even if the work is demanding, physically, mentally or emotionally, it still won’t “feel” as if it’s hard work and you won’t think of it in that way.
Focusing on the right kind of pleasure will go a long way in leading you towards your purpose, your passion.
You can begin to discover what you are passionate about by inquiring deeply into your own pursuit of pleasure.
Here are some key questions you can ask yourself to discover what is motivating your pursuit of pleasure:
What am I passionate about?
What do I most desire?
What truly brings me pleasure?
What would I love to do, there are challenges are obstacles to stand in my way?
What would I like to have in my life? And if I had it, how would it make me feel?
Am I enjoying life?
What do I really care about?
Am I happy most of the time?
Am I addicted to or hooked on anything?
Are my pleasures and desires leading me toward or away from my life’s purpose?
Achieving Real Growth and finding Happiness
In the last three articles we’ve seen that to achieve real growth in personal development there are four components or aims to learn, experience and embody; that these four components are the science of success and make up the road map for fulfilling your path to lasting happiness.
The final component in this road-map for success is freedom or peace, which seems like more of a goal then a step along the way. But we will explore how powerful this “freedom from” – and “freedom to,” is… especially in leading a successful and happy life.