happy vs. happiness - the important difference

the different forms of information below describe this paradox.  most people say that they want to be happy, but most of the time they really mean that they want to find happiness.  although the words are used interchangeably, they are different and the difference is very important when pursuing happiness daily.

This video describes the difference between the concept of happy and the concept of happiness. Pursuing happy will not produce a meaningful, worthwhile life ... pursuing happiness gives meaning to a person's life. Understanding the difference is very important for anyone looking for purpose.


happy things are fun

true happiness gives meaning

pursue happiness

Happy vs. Happiness -- Knowing the difference is important if you are to pursue happiness

Hello -- this is Marc with the Gunnar Project. The mission of the Gunnar Project is to inspire people, especially young adults, to pursue happiness.

In order to do this, it’s very important to make a distinction and clearly understand the distinction between happy on one side, and happiness on the other side. I think if people were to wake up and to try and pursue happy, I think that they would end up with a very unfulfilled life, very shallow, probably would be… would feel sort of selfish. But the pursuit of happiness on the other side is very different.

One way to clearly illustrate this is to make a list of those things that make you happy. As I’ve gone out and spoken to thousands of different people over this past year, we’ve done this exercise and the things that people list, or the things that you might list that make you happy, are things like: a great cup of coffee, listening to music, hanging out with friends, going out for a good run, getting a good workout. These are all things that make people happy -- and they’re really cool -- they’re great -- they’re very important.

If you then take a step back and say “Give me your definition of true happiness”, the definition is very different than this list of things that make you happy, right? When people talk about true happiness, they talk about things like serving others, and learning new things, and being challenged, and spending time with their family and really close friends, having a relationship with a Higher Power, doing good. Those are the kinds of things that make up this definition of true happiness.

I think that you would agree if I go out and pursue coffee, and music, and hanging out with friends, and these things that sort of make me happy… although that’s great -- that’s fun -- it’s not something that my life pursuit is going to be all about. On the other hand, if I take this and say I want to pursue happiness… and happiness is serving others, and being grateful and creating deep, good relationships with family and friends… if that’s sort of the direction I’m going in this pursuit, I think you can see that would be a life that’s very worth pursuing.

So again, the difference between happy -- happy with a “y” and happi with an “i” -- I think it’s very important to understand that difference, if you are indeed going to go out and pursue happiness.

I’m Marc Miller with the Gunnar Project -- thanks for listening -- I look forward to talking to you again soon. Bye!