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If You Can Get THIS, You Will Be Happy. Guaranteed. 

Daily Stoic Emails

There is, in many of us, a sense of lacking. Even though we have so much—our health, our families, our homes—we want more. Things are good, but it feels like to truly be happy, they need to be just a little better. Indeed, this is the human condition, and it always has been. We think that the next honor, the next dollar, the next accomplishment will finally do it for us. 

It is Seneca who writes most eloquently of this desire, this insatiability we all have. Alexander the Great, he notes, was poor, despite his conquests of most of the known world. Because he could only think of the next campaign. He notes that money rarely makes us rich because all it does is give us a craving to earn more. 

The cycle is timeless—from Alexander the Great’s time to Seneca’s to ours—we chase, we get, we crash, and decide the only way to feel that high again is to repeat the whole thing again but bigger, better, with more. This is wrenching and impotent. It’s angst, an ache captured beautifully by the bridge in the song “All We Ever Knew” by The Head and the Heart:

I’m feeling low, feeling high

Feeling down, why isn’t this enough?

I’m feeling low, feeling high

Feeling down, why isn’t this enough?

Why isn’t this enough? Because it will never be enough. No amount of acquiring or doing or experiencing ever will be. Can you understand that? Can you try to get this through your head? We must come to terms with the fact that the soul can never be filled by possessions, and there are no conditions from which we can “accomplish” happiness. No, it must ensue. It can only emanate from virtue, from gratitude, from the stillness that comes when you are present

You don’t need more. You have enough. You can be happy right now.