Common steps and sub-activities

Reducing opportunities - removing spurious pleasures

Go through the list and assess whether these really are the things that make you happy, or whether they are things that you just think make you happy.

Problems come in everyone’s life when the things that used to make them happy start being taken for granted, or they start to compare their life with other people’s lives [fictional or not] and they get dissatisfied, or worse jealous.  At this point people stop thinking about what would make them happy and start to think about what [apparently] makes other people happy.

And they add spurious pleasures. 

So, let me take another example.  Suppose  I have a plate of fish and chips now and again, a caravan holiday in Scarborough every year, sex every Sunday morning, a warm bath every Friday night, two children and a dog.  

And I am happy, but I watch TV and I start to realise that some people not only have a holiday in Scarborough, but a holiday in Marbella too ! and some people have sex every day ! [because the Daily Mirror tells me they do] and some people have showers! not just warm baths – because the television program on ‘houses for the rich and famous’ show that the rich have showers and baths.   And I see some people with a dog and a cat and a hamster and a rabbit, maybe even two rabbits.  And I think, I WANT THAT!!  I don’t think, is this going to make me any happier, I just think, I WANT THAT!

The fact that fish and chips is my favourite food;  that a caravan holiday in Scarborough is fun and the children love it and it is cheap and Scarborough is easy to get to; that sex every Sunday morning is about all I can manage without several packets of viagra ;  and a warm bath every Friday night with a beer and maybe listening to the wireless is utterly utterly bliss; that I love my two children and my dog and any more would be a nightmare for me to feed, nurture and look after is forgotten.

The advertising and marketing professionals deliberately, and our media occasionally unconsciously, do nothing but provoke us to compare our lives with other people’s lives in order that we buy products or do things for which we will have to pay.  This is their job.  It is their job to instigate ‘want’, desire.  DO NOT BLAME THEM.

It is for us to make a decision about whether they do make us any happier.

In reality, all these extra things may make us no happier than when we had the plate of fish and chips now and again, the caravan holiday in Scarborough every year, sex every Sunday morning, a warm bath every Friday night, and the two children and the one dog.

Say does this really make me happy or have I just added it because I am comparing my life with someone else’s?