Happiness Is Everyone's Ultimate Goal

Every human that has ever existed has had happiness as their ultimate goal in life. Pretty bold and presumptuous statement, huh? When you put the emphasis on "ultimate", I think you'll find the statement is true.

It's the odd ways in which we pursue happiness that makes us question the validity of this idea. What about the guy that works at a job he hates for his family? Is his goal to be happy? Again, I think the answer is "yes."

"What is the purpose or meaning of your life? Is your life for you to be happy, or would you prefer your life be for something else? Would that make you happy? Whatsoever you seek, you seek the cessation of unhappiness and the satisfaction of happiness.

Even those people who would be willing to die to save another do it for happiness. The idea of seeing themselves as loving another so much that they'd sacrifice themselves, makes them happy.

You do all that you do for happiness."

- Bruce Di Marsico

Your core motivation to be happy is surrounded by layers of other desires. Like an onion, you must first peel away the layers to reach the core. Let's look at an example.

I want a car.
Why do you want that?
So I can get to work.
Why do you want that?
So I can earn enough money for a house.
Why do you want that?
So I can have a place I call my own.
Why do you want that?
So I can feel free to do with it what I will.
Why do you want that?
Because when I feel free, I feel happy.

"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."

Henry David Thoreau

Happiness does not always appear to be an obvious goal because of the intermediate goals we believe are necessary to achieve happiness. But in the end, we do what we do to feel good.

continue story below

Some say the "will to survive" is the strongest desire of all men, but even this I question. What about suicide? What about people with a fatal disease who are in a lot of pain and want to die? These people want to end their lives. If the will to survive was our highest motivation above all else, it would seem people would want to live, no matter what.

So what DO these people want? To end their pain. From this one can only conclude that the desire to feel good is even stronger than the desire to stay alive.

And he said unto them...

"If a man told God that he wanted most of all to help the
suffering world, no matter the price to himself, and God
answered and told him what he must do, should the man
do as he is told?"

"Of course, Master!" cried the many.
"It should be pleasure for him to suffer the tortures of
hell itself, should God ask it!"

"No matter what those tortures, nor how difficult the task?"

"Honor to be hanged, glory to be nailed to a tree and burned,
if so be that God has asked," said they.

"And what would you do," the Master said unto the
multitude, "if God spoke directly to your face and said...

'I command that you be happy in the world, as long
as you live.' What would you do then?"

And the multitude was silent, not a voice, not a sound
was heard upon the hillsides, across the valleys
where they stood.

-Illusions by Richard Bach

next: Society and Happiness

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 29). Happiness Is Everyone's Ultimate Goal, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Last Updated: August 6, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

More Info