Here’s Why You Should Stop Aiming for Happiness

The article is a theoretical piece.

The author discusses the concept of Adventure as an alternative to happiness. The article draws from philosophical and religious sources to argue that humans are built for adventure rather than security and that suffering and challenge are necessary for personal growth and self-regard.

Main topics: Adventure, Security, Suffering, Challenge, Personal Growth, Self-regard. Secondary topics: Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, the Old Testament, children's development, consciousness. Keywords: Utopia, Abraham, Jack Boots, dancing on the edge, optimized consciousness.

  1. Introduction: Discussing the ideas of the philosopher Kierkegaard and his views on anxiety and usefulness
  2. Kierkegaard's critique of industrialists trying to make life easier and his belief that he could make things more difficult for people
  3. The concept of Adventure and how it is more reliable than happiness
  4. The story of Abraham and his call to leave his comfort zone and find adventure
  5. The importance of having a narrative that includes both extreme difficulty and worthiness of the struggle
  6. The idea that suffering serves a purpose in optimizing our interaction with chaos and order
  7. The role of challenge in optimal consciousness and engagement with life
  8. The importance of pushing children and developing relationships to keep them dancing on the proper edge

Aim for Adventure, Not Happiness

The idea of happiness has become a modern obsession, and society is becoming more and more efficient at making our lives comfortable and easy. However, philosopher Kierkegaard argued that people need more challenge and difficulty, and that discomfort can be more beneficial for personal growth than happiness. Dostoevsky also criticized the idea of security and safety-oriented utopias in Notes from Underground. He claimed that humans are fundamentally ungrateful and need adventure to break the monotony of security.

Adventure is a more reliable alternative to happiness because life will inevitably bring suffering, and those who aim for happiness will be unprepared to handle it. One such example is Solzhenitsyn, who wrote about the gulags under Stalin and how happiness is not always possible. Adventure can be seen in the Old Testament story of Abraham, who was called by God to leave his secure life and go on an adventure. Although it was difficult, the experience was worth it.

The question of suffering in the world remains, but aiming for optimized challenge may be the solution. The brain functions optimally when it is between chaos and order, the same state as consciousness. Consciousness is deeply engaged when it is on the edge, which is why Hawaiians believe that surfing is sacred. Parents also need to keep their children on the edge, where they are pushed to their limit, but not beyond it. Adventure can provide a narrative that helps justify suffering, and ultimately leads individuals to a sense of self-regard based on their real experiences.


Overall, individuals should aim for adventure rather than happiness, to develop themselves in meaningful ways, to be prepared for life's inevitable challenges, and to create a narrative for a meaningful life.

The article discusses the idea that humans are not built for security and safety, but rather for adventure and challenge. The author references philosophers Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky, as well as the Old Testament story of Abraham, to support this idea. The author argues that a focus on happiness alone is not reliable and that optimized interaction with chaos and challenges can provide a more fulfilling life. This information can influence other areas of knowledge, such as psychology and philosophy, as well as areas of life, such as personal growth and decision-making. However, the article lacks a more scientific exploration of the neuroscience behind consciousness and the concept of dancing on the edge. Furthermore, the author does not address the role of different societal and cultural factors that may impact an individual's desire for adventure and challenge, which may contradict the argument that humans are universally built for it.

Question 1: Who was Kierkegaard and what was his philosophical contribution?
Short answer: Kierkegaard was a psychological philosopher who wrote about anxiety and regarded himself as rather useless.
Quote: "he wrote 150 years ago and he was one of the first people who really wrote about anxiety he was one of the first psychological philosophers and uh he regarded himself as rather useless"

Question 2: What did Kierkegaard write about industrialization?
Short answer: Kierkegaard wrote about the industrialists in Europe at that time who were trying to make life easier and more efficient for everyone, and believed that his task was to make things more difficult for people.
Quote: "he wrote a section in one of his books about all the industrialists that we're operating in Europe at that time trying in every possible way to make life easier and easier and more efficient and productive for everyone ... and he thought that his task would be to make things more difficult for people"

Question 3: According to the article, what is more reliable than happiness?
Short answer: Adventure is more reliable than happiness, according to the article.
Quote: "I do think that Adventure is more reliable than happiness"

Question 4: What is the solution to the problem of suffering, according to the article?
Short answer: The solution to the problem of suffering is to optimize your interaction with chaos rather than being protected all the time from everything that could hurt you.
Quote: "maybe that's maybe that's maybe that's the solution in some profound sense to the problem of suffering it's that you optimize your interaction with chaos rather than being protected all the time from everything that could hurt you"

Quiz 1: Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky

    Question 1: Who was Kierkegaard and what was his contribution?

  • a. A psychologist who wrote about anxiety
  • b. A philosopher who wrote about industrialists
  • c. A novelist who wrote about the human condition
  • d. A political theorist who wrote about utopia
  • Correct answer: a.

    Question 2: What did Kierkegaard think was his task?

  • a. To make things easier for people
  • b. To make things more difficult for people
  • c. To criticize industrialists
  • d. To write about utopia
  • Correct answer: b.

    Question 3: What did Dostoevsky object to?

  • a. Utopia based on security and safety
  • b. Industrialization and modernization
  • c. Political tyranny and oppression
  • d. Economic inequality and poverty
  • Correct answer: a.

    Question 4: What did Dostoevsky say about human nature?

  • a. We are fundamentally good and kind
  • b. We are fundamentally evil and cruel
  • c. We are fundamentally ungrateful and resentful
  • d. We are fundamentally ignorant and naive
  • Correct answer: c.

    Question 5: What is Adventure according to Peterson?

  • a. The pursuit of happiness
  • b. The avoidance of suffering
  • c. The search for meaning
  • d. The optimization of consciousness
  • Correct answer: d.

Quiz 2: Abraham and the Meaning of Life

    Question 1: What was Abraham's background?

  • a. He was a wealthy and pampered nomad
  • b. He was a poor and downtrodden peasant
  • c. He was a wise and virtuous sage
  • d. He was a powerful and ambitious king
  • Correct answer: a.

    Question 2: What did God ask of Abraham?

  • a. To stay in his comfort zone and enjoy his wealth
  • b. To leave his family and community and go on an adventure
  • c. To build a utopian society based on security and safety
  • d. To become a prophet and lead his nation to glory
  • Correct answer: b.

    Question 3: What happened to Abraham on his adventure?

  • a. He found happiness and success
  • b. He experienced tragedy and suffering
  • c. He discovered the meaning of life
  • d. He became a hero and a legend
  • Correct answer: b.

    Question 4: What is the solution to the problem of suffering?

  • a. Security and safety
  • b. Happiness and pleasure
  • c. Adventure and challenge
  • d. Love and compassion
  • Correct answer: c.

    Question 5: What is the ultimate goal of life according to Peterson?

  • a. To be happy and content
  • b. To avoid pain and suffering
  • c. To pursue meaning and purpose
  • d. To optimize consciousness and existence
  • Correct answer: d.

Quiz 3: The Edge of Chaos and Parenting

    Question 1: What is the optimal condition of consciousness according to Peterson?

  • a. Order and stability
  • b. Chaos and unpredictability
  • c. Certainty and security
  • d. Edge and exploration
  • Correct answer: d.

    Question 2: What is the role of parents in child development?

  • a. To provide everything for the child and keep them safe
  • b. To push the child to their limits and keep them on the edge
  • c. To shelter the child from the world and its dangers
  • d. To teach the child to be independent and self-sufficient
  • Correct answer: b.

    Question 3: What is the psychoanalyst's view on parenting?

  • a. The Good Mother necessarily succeeds
  • b. The Good Mother necessarily fails
  • c. The Good Father necessarily fails
  • d. The Good Father necessarily succeeds
  • Correct answer: b.

    Question 4: What is the importance of dancing on the edge?

  • a. To experience pleasure and enjoyment
  • b. To avoid pain and suffering
  • c. To optimize consciousness and existence
  • d. To achieve goals and success
  • Correct answer: c.

    Question 5: What is the lesson of the mirror provision of security?

  • a. Security is more important than adventure
  • b. Adventure is more important than security
  • c. Security and adventure are equally important
  • d. Security and adventure are contradictory
  • Correct answer: b.

Tips to embrace Adventure over happiness:

  1. Challenge Yourself: Instead of always seeking comfort and security, challenge yourself to try new things and take risks. This can be as simple as trying a new hobby or taking a different route to work. Doing so can help cultivate a sense of adventure in your daily life.
  2. Embrace Suffering: While it is not ideal, suffering is a part of life. Rather than striving for a life free of suffering, try to find meaning in your hardships and embrace them as an opportunity for growth.
  3. Set Bold Goals: Don't limit yourself to easy-to-attain goals. Push yourself to strive for bigger, bolder goals that require hard work and perseverance. This can help you realize what you're truly capable of.
  4. Surround Yourself with Support: Having a support system is essential when pursuing adventure over happiness. Surround yourself with people who push you towards your goals and encourage you to take risks.
  5. Find Joy in the Journey: Don't focus solely on the end result. Find joy in the journey of pursuing your goals and embracing new experiences.

The best tip to include in daily life would be to challenge oneself. This can be easily implemented by trying out new things little-by-little in your daily life. Trying new things can help broaden your perspective and provide new experiences that might help with growth both mentally and psychologically.