Ayn Rand once said: “Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.”
The interesting question to me is this: To what extent is the pursuit of one’s own happiness about making other people happy too? Since you have to consider if you’re excessively selfish it could affect others adversely, and if they’re unhappy that could negatively impact you. So in a sense being part of a well-behaved society IS self-gratifying behaviour. I think a lot of people fail to realise that, though.
That makes it a really interesting philosophy. Obviously, you need love/happiness/joy/fun/enjoyment/etc around you. For most people this instantly means friends and family and holidays or something like that, but they’re forgetting their jobs. What I mean is that a lot of people are not enjoying their job, while productive achievements are ones noblest activity. The only thing that justifies this, is reason.
Why should somebody’s work be his main aim in life? Because there is no God or greater power. People should see their self as their own heroic being and empower that with vision, new ideas and above all, productivity.
How do you translate this into real life? Well, at the moment, I think about 50% of the people in the world aren’t happy with their job, and I believe 90% isn’t performing according to their true abilities (if you forget about morality). You choose your own job so how can you be unhappy with it? And isn’t it an honour to do something useful? Isn’t it a challenge to perform better then others? To be at the top of your skill? People don’t seem to take notice anymore and lose their self to oppinions of others, about taste and preferance. All in all to many people are part of a horde, in which they don’t think individualy but follow what their friends/neightbours do.
This is not a bad thing. The world needs these so called ‘secondhand’ people, else I would probably lose my job in marketing. They believe what the television shows them, without thinking to much of it. When they see a famous person wearing Nike shoes, they instantly agree with Nike’s message, as being the best shoes on the market. But the reality is what it is regardless ones look at it. Reality is what the reality is. Nothing changes that.
People tend to believe working days are by definition bad and weekend is per definition good. However, I’m someone who is enjoying his work while the payment is crap while I’m making loads and loads of overhours. But when it’s weekend I still work, not as much as during the week, but still, I make quite a lot of hours. So when it’s weekend, I’m happy for the fact it’s weekend and I can relax a bit, but when it’s Monday, I’m happy that I can go back to work.
All of this doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time with your friends and family. Other people can make you happy as well, very much. I believe having people around you is still essential to your life, but my main point is that both the input (effort put into) and output (enjoyment) of work are highly underrated.
Still, people should do whatever makes them happy, BUT, the problem is, most people don’t know what makes them happy. Many of my friends don’t understand me, why am I working so much, but they can’t see I’m enjoying it.