That's a really good question, after all, Happiness and Being Happy seems to be what people say they want out of life.
It has been suggested by some writers that the active pursuit of happiness is indeed a fool's errand.
The Dali Lama suggests that happiness comes from what you do.
I think there’s a myth lying at the core of modern consumerism which suggests that owning or obtaining “stuff” is the route to personal satisfaction, to personal happiness. It’s as if investing in something external to ourselves can create the internal feeling we call happiness.
Of course, there are some basic human needs for survival and well-being, but beyond that having more does not necessarily make you happier or, strangely more secure. Many very wealthy people spend time concerned about not remaining wealthy so their focus will be one of continual acquisition.
The things we desire can become the very things that stop us from feeling content.
There is a core of psychological and sociological research that suggests that a personal sense of “happiness” and “contentment” can come from some very simple things.
Having a living according to a personal moral code.
Focussing in the things you are grateful for
Being in the now rather than living in the past or dreaming (without acting) on a future
Practising truly random acts of kindness
Doing something for others.
Less Competition and More Collaboration
I think we have misread and misinterpreted some of the stories about human origins. Darwin’s Survival of The Fittest has been translated into the idea of competition and dog-eat-dog. Success is thus about being the best or beating the competition. However, the natural world shows examples of cooperation and collaboration.
In Darwin’s Descent of Man, the concept of survival of the fittest (competition) is mentioned twice. The word “love” is mentioned 95 times.
Perhaps there’s a message there.
Happiness is not being but doing.
Our dissatisfaction stems from our attachment to things outside of ourselves. We make money, people, events, relationships, things responsible for 'making' us happy and thus define our level of happiness by what we haven't got.
Letting go of the need to find the things that make you happy and allowing ourselves to 'do' happy is the simple solution we tend to overlook.
So, in answer to the question, No, happiness isn't necessarily the thing to focus on. Engaging in life by appreciating what you have, sharing what you can and being open to improving yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually can lead to that feeling of contentment or happiness.
Some quotes for you to reflect upon.
Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness. Robertson Davies
Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them. - Steve Marboli
There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human—in not having to be just happy or just sad—in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time. C Joy Bell
Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude - Denis Waitley
You might like to read this piece on "If Only...." (it's on this blog)
Here's a related article from my Medium Blog 8 Lies You Tell Yourself
Thank you for reading