Let’s pretend humanity hasn’t been struggling with the concept of happiness and contentment for all of history. Let’s pretend I, the almighty Dakota, have discovered the secret to happiness in a short 25 years.

Are you ready? Here it is: the secret to happiness is getting what you want. IT’S SO SIMPLE. Right?

Let’s keep playing pretend. If that is the long-sought-after secret to happiness, can we ever be happy? Duh. Of course we can. We just have to get what we want…so what do we want? Enter the dilemma. If we get what we want then we experience some happiness. Unfortunately it doesn’t take long until we want something else too, meaning our happiness decreases as a result of us wanting something else which we do not have yet. But the answer is simple, again: get that thing too. And when it happens again? Rinse. And. Repeat.

But when does it end? Imagine a football team trying to score a touchdown, but every time they get into the end-zone the officials declare that the end-zone is actually somewhere else. The team could never actually score. Well, that’s the relationship between you and the things you want (the key to happiness, remember). If happiness is based on getting what we want, but what we want keeps changing, we doom ourselves to nothing but momentary happiness followed by a feeling of lacking and desire.

It would seem, then, the true secret to happiness lies in controlling what it is that you want. If you can keep yourself from wanting something “more” after you get what you want, you can theoretically stay happy. Go back to the football team; it would make sense for them to get the end-zone to stay put!

If the key to happiness is getting what you want, it follows that you should control exactly what your “wants” are. So here’s the real question:

Are you?

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