I got to thinking about the concept of “happiness” the other day and decided that I will no longer pursue it. Don’t get me wrong, the “…pursuit of happiness…” is very quotable, it sounds great and looks great on paper – especially when that paper happens to be the Declaration of Independence, which is where the phrase is found and was signed by our forefathers.

But it was actually my two preteen daughters who started to change my thinking on the topic. During dinner discussion, my wife and I periodically ask them if they’re “happy.” Turns out that their mixed responses vary a great deal depending on who played with them during recess; how they did on a test at school; what was served at lunch; whether a favorite toy was missing…etc.

To my young daughters, happiness appears to be a conditional and transitional state of being that’s linked to variable external circumstances. It’s hard to ignore that the founders of the country seemed to link happiness to externals as well, since their concept of happiness was predicated by a necessary “pursuit” that implies some unsecured future state.
Personally, I’ve fallen into that same “pursuit” – perhaps more commonly known as the rat race – where I’ve linked happiness to the pursuit of a certain job; a certain salary level; getting a book published or completing a degree.

I’ve since decided that a more aspirational goal is “…life, liberty and contentment.” For me the ideal of contentment suggests a stable and unmoving state of being that is linked to internal factors rather than externals.

There’s a passage of scripture that reads, “Contentment, a sense of inward sufficiency, with godliness is great and abundant gain.” (I Timothy 6:6). Given the choice, I think that a life of contentment is a better life than a life of happiness. What are your thoughts on the topic?

Author's Bio: 

Tor Constantino has more than 20 years experience as a former journalist and current PR practitioner. Additionally, he's a father, husband, marathoner, writer and believer. He just completed his first non-fiction book titled "A Question of Faith: a Simple Question Toward Ultimate Truth." He blogs daily regarding faith, family, finance and fitness at