Pursuit of Contentment


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The pursuit of happiness is such an ironic way to put it sometimes when in the short space of one evening I encounter at least two others that are valiantly avoiding distasteful university work. I suppose that is why we’re avoiding it though.

Nonetheless, upon doing this work I was supposed to do, there was a quote that struck me as quite true in ELTRUN’s The HERMES Newsletter from 2005:

It has been argued that people spend most of their leisure time trying to moderate their moods. Daniel Goleman (1995) said that ‘managing our emotions is something of a full-time job: much of what we do —especially in our free time— is an attempt to manage mood. Everything from reading a novel or watching television to the activities and the companions we choose can be a way to make ourselves feel better. The art of soothing ourselves is a fundamental life skill.’

Yet the ways in which we manage mood are all different. There are those that will complete all their work immediately so that they know that they may relax in ease after. Then there are those like me, who will avoid a unfavourable task as long as possible and then do it when there is no other choice. It’s all too easy to make the second choice as we tend to crave that immediate satisfaction over a long term one.

Humans are strange, emotional creatures. To be happy is something that we all seem to strive for. But perhaps it’s not happiness to its extremes that we all are looking for, at its lowest level we are simply looking for contentment.