Posted by: David D. Daggett | July 30, 2007

Pursuit of Happiness….

     Pursuit of Happiness….

     We many times think of happiness as “fun” times, but as we reflect back we see that happiness and fun are not necessarily the same, or even happen at the same time. We often see folks pursuing “fun” in search of “happiness.” They seemingly have lots of fun but are never happy – why? Fun is simply temporary. Happiness is much deeper.   

        Our photo this week is of young kids on the playground. Are they happy?


      There are many lessons just from the photo.  None of these kids knew each other (other than siblings) and yet in 5 – 10 minutes struck friendships, called each other by name, created a game that even had rules, all got along, and all had fun. Amazing how well they did as long as no adults interfered!  

       On this family vacation in Northern Michigan we visited a Church with a visiting minister – what luck! He was fabulous! He posited that happiness is equal to your sense of self worth. Further, he described an element of self worth as being free of guilt (which is the basis of our faith). Many times our deepest guilt is reflected in judging others. Whereas forgiveness is the absence of guilt. The hard work of self worth tends to remove guilt, while at the same time allows us to accept others without the judgement that many times simply reflects our own personal weaknesses or shortcomings.   

        Perhaps Paul best summarizes this concept in his letter to the Romans instructing “… rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering  produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us….”   

        Ironman competition is almost too easy of a metaphor for this lesson. All the time, all the work, all the sweat….I could go on and on. I guess in a way it is “fun” – I enjoy it, but it certainly isn’t lounging and eating ice cream! Ah, but the finish line. What a feeling! Interesting, though, is that self worth is a continual process and not just a “finish line.” So, once we finish we need to continue to nourish the character and ensuing hope so we can maintain our self worth. Opportunities are continually available with family, work, friends, and our spiritual communities.  

         They say that the finish line of the Hawaii Ironman is among the most exclusive pieces of real estate in the world because it can’t be bought – It can only be earned. So too, it would seem, self worth can only be “earned.”  Remember, though, the Ironman is simply the metaphor for the lesson, and the lesson applies to all of life’s pursuits.   

         I’ve seen a lot of Ironman finish lines, but I am clearly still in the middle of the “race.”

Let’s “race” to be “happy,”



  1. David, thanks for this. I love that passage in Romans and it brings to mind another passage… II Timothy 2. That passage talks about competing as an athlete and I agree with you that athletics holds rich life application for us in our “race” to be “happy” and find lasting peace.

  2. […] we too “lapse” in our personal Thanksgiving. I have written elsewhere articles entitled Pursuit of Happiness and Have a Happy Heart, and although being thankful may be part of those perhaps it has another […]

  3. […]      10. Pursuit of Happiness…. […]

  4. Wow theres a lot of wisdom in this post right here, I’m 21 and pretty mature for my age but I’m even having a hard time grasping the entire contents of this post.

    I really liked what you wrote here

    “We often see folks pursuing “fun” in search of “happiness.” They seemingly have lots of fun but are never happy”

    And it’s so true, I guess happiness truly does come from achieving your goals in life and having a good self-image like you said.

    Really nice post, I enjoyed it

  5. […] short sighted and scorched-earth tactics. Long-term fulfillment and satisfaction that leads to true happiness does not come instantaneously. It takes planning, perseverance, and hard […]

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