Comfort Does Not Equal Happiness

The current issue of Outside magazine has a great interview with Dean Karnazes. I discussed this phenomenal athlete in a previous post.

Dean Karnazes

In the interview, he makes a point that many of us have forgotten:

Western culture has things a little backwards right now. We think that if we had every comfort available to us, we’d be happy. We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our lives. No sense of adventure. We get in a car, we get in an elevator, it all comes easy. What I’ve found is that I’m never more alive than when I’m pushing and I’m in pain, and I’m struggling for high achievement, and in that struggle I think there’s a magic.

It is well-worth reading the whole interview. You may not aspire to becoming an ultra-marathoner or even a jogger. But you can still draw inspiration from someone who has such passion and commitment about his chosen career.

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  • Wojtek Tomalik

    This is brilliant. I found this article by googling my newest revelation: “you can build comfort, not happiness”. I think this is the problem of many people in our culture; we didn’t only forget (as a society) how to be happy, we have forgotten what happiness even means; and therefore, what we are searching for. Through excessive comfort and automation/routine, western society has become sedated; with only a slight feeling of emptiness, or depression shining as a sign that there is something missing from this grade A existence.

  • W. Mark Thompson

    Great point.
    Even from a Christian perspective, we’re not promised happiness via comfort.
    That message is hard to find in the mainstream these days.