Who is the Happier Person?

In this post, I explain the inspiring meaning of the quote Hunter S. Thompson quote, “Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived…”

Who is the Happier Person?

I frequently wonder if I should alter these quotes to reflect today’s language. If Hunter S. Thompson were alive today, I think he definitely would have supported today’s altered language. I choose to leave the quotes as quotes and note how they would likely be phrased differently today.

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”

– Hunter S. Thompson

Thompson’s quote is an excellent lesson in perspective. One of the things I love most about travel is encountering the unexpected. Vacation and leisure certainly have their place in travel. However, unlike the trips I plan for my travel business clients, my trips tend to be more loosely-planned adventures.

While I can’t plan for the unexpected to happen, I can realize that obstacles will present themselves and ready myself to meet the challenge.

Some challenges are more enjoyable than others, and some obstacles are entirely unpleasant. That’s the point, though. A challenging trip like that mimics life, so I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and the fortified confidence I’ve fostered by the end of the journey.

I love lounging on a beach, watching and listening to the waves roll and crash into the shore. I don’t even need a book to enjoy this scenario, and I prefer to find a little shade, making the moments as lazy and relaxing as possible.

What’s Better Than Relaxing?

Do you know what makes that lounging even more fulfilling?

Exhausting myself by playing in those crashing waves and then resting and relaxing feels drastically better. Relaxation feels even more relaxing after burning some energy. You’ll be happier lounging and relaxing after you’ve spent your energy than you will if you try to spend the entire time relaxing.

As Hunter S. Thompson suggests, there is an even higher level than I described, braving the storm.

Set out to sea, facing storms, rolling waves, and exotic sea creatures. Winning those battles, then returning to the shore to relax and enjoy the ocean sites and sound builds far more happiness than the leisurely life of merely existing on a tranquil beach.

Living Is Better Than Existing

Seashells and driftwood merely exist on the shore. They lack the capacity to experience the joy of relaxing on the coastline and are incapable of dreading a sea storm. Those inanimate objects won’t question their happiness or purpose because they merely exist.

They’re not capable of fear or suffering, but they also can’t experience pleasure or joy.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you hop into a boat alone and set out to sea. Only attempt such a literal adventure as that with an experienced sea captain. I’m talking about life in general and all the obstacles and impediments it will throw at you.

Humans thrive on living experiences, appreciating memories, and relishing a sense of accomplishment after hard work. More than those, what produces the most happiness is the resilience you build fighting through life’s challenges and, afterward, the confidence of knowing you’re up to the task of the challenge.

You can’t know what future challenges will be, and you don’t have to. The more hardships you overcome, the more you know you’ll be able to overcome.

Don’t merely exist on life’s shore, hoping to enjoy the sweetness of respite and relaxation. Seize life’s saltiness. Mix up the flavors, and gather a lifetime of memories and well-won battles.

Question: What is a storm you braved that makes you happier today?

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