Happiness is a Byproduct of a Life Well Lived

Chasing happiness can be frustrating. It’s a great reason to not chase it. Happiness isn’t something you can simply get. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, happiness is a byproduct of a life well lived.

happiness is a byproduct of a life well lived
Beautiful image by jill111 at pixabay.com

“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

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Pursuing Happiness Doesn’t Work

It’s like:

  • pursuing fishing for fish’s sake.
  • pursing being ripped for being ripped’s sake.
  • going on vacation so you can unpack.

Your grammar got a little awkward on a couple of those.

Fishing is Its Own Reward

If the success of your fishing trip depends on how many fish you catch, you’ll likely be disappointed. And you likely miss the point of fishing.

There’s a good chance you’ll return from your fishing trip empty-handed. Maybe you’ll get a few bites, but nothing for the pan. Nothing to brag about.

What a Let-down!

You wasted the whole day and probably a few dollars in worms or minnows with nothing to show for it. You won’t be able to exaggerate your fish stories. You’ll have to concoct complete works of fishy fiction.

Fishing for Fishing’s Sake

But if you’re fishing for fishing’s sake…

Then you get to enjoy the day of fishing.

You can relish:

  • the sounds of the lapping water
  • the connection with wildlife and nature
  • the gentle breeze tickling your skin
    (unless you’re one of those crazy people who like fishing in the rain and/or cold)
  • the peace and tranquility of getting out of the daily grind.

Fishing is fishing’s reward, not fish.

Although fresh, fried fish is delicious, you’re contentment the evening after your day fishing isn’t because of the fish! Your happiness the evening after fishing is the by-product of a day well-spent.

To quote Brad Paisley, you’ll “owe it all to time well-wasted.”

In fact, why don’t you just enjoy that song right now? Then finish reading the post. Listen to the whole song! Not just the end.

Exercise is Its Own Reward

If you’re just concerned with your gainz or losses, you’ll likely get frustrated with exercise.

We’re tempted to want to look like the testimonials in the P90X commercials. I was. I signed right up for that.

Shredding Ain’t Easy

The truth is shredding that much fat requires consistent hard work. Plus, 80% of burning fat is nutrition, not intense workouts.

Don’t make yourself hate exercise by doing those insanely intense workouts and not getting the results you expect.

Unless you’re one of those insane people like me who just like those intense workouts.

happiness is a byproduct of a life well lived

Gainz is Harder

Gaining those kinds of gainz requires really hard work.


You have to eat a lot.


You have to eat the right kinds of foods.


And do the right kinds of exercise, the correct weights and reps.

You guessed it. Consistently.

So it is better to…

Exercise for Exercise’s Sake

If you exercise for exercise’s own sake, though, you’ll love exercise.

There’s no disappointedly gazing into the mirror wondering when you’ll see results. Don’t gaze for gainz! There is the contentment of knowing you did what you need to do for a healthy body–more importantly, a healthy mind–three to five days this week.

No mirror or scale required.

You’ll Enjoy the Lack of Stress

It may not happen all at once. I took me about a week after the day I started going to the gym during lunch, but I work out really hard. It may take longer, but your stress levels will decline.

With chronic stress, we forget what feeling good feels like. Exercise will remind you what it feels like to feel good again.

To quote Robert Earl Keen, “It feels so good feeling good again.”

At your next medical check-up, your doctor will be pleased with your lab results when all your counts are closer to what’s healthy. Not as happy as you’ll be.

My approach is that I exercise for my mind. I’ve been going consistently for about eight months now. Now and then, after a shower getting ready to head out, I’ll look in the mirror and see the progress.

Since I spend to much time on computers, I work my shoulders more than the rest of my body. Tiny little ripples around my shoulders and upper arms are popping up.

It’s just a by-product of 30 – 45 minutes in the gym four to five days per week.

How’d you get so ripped, Shayne?

Gradually, then Suddenly.

The Compound Effect.

A by-product of a life well lived.

Disclosure: I’m not actually ripped.

Not even close!

Vacation for the Middle

The point of vacation isn’t unpacking or taking a Nestea plunge onto your mattress when you return home.

Do we look forward to vacations for the drive home? No. It’s all the stuff in the middle. Vacation is enjoying where you are, when you get there, on the way there and on the way back.

Whether in Paris, France or Paris, Texas, a good vacation is the by-product of days well-spent. It’s not a quick and easy unpacking at the end.

Happiness is Like Music

Sure there are some songs with great endings. Ravel’s Bolero for example. After 15 minutes of gradual crescendo and intensity, Bolero finishes with intense, loud chaotic, furious 25 seconds.

You’ll love my upcoming post how Happiness is like Bolero.

But we rarely listen to music for the end. Usually, it’s the chorus we like. The hook might stay in your mind for hours. Or days.

It can make you burst into song!

“It must be nice. It must be nice to have Washington on your side.”

Great! Now it’s stuck in my head too.

All About The Bass

Those of us who really appreciate music focus on the verses too. What’s the song about? How poetic is it? What pictures is the writer painting with their lyrics?

Have you ever listen to a song and just listened to the bass line all the way through?  I started my garage band days playing bass, and I was a huge Rush fan. I wasn’t huge, just loved Rush! Rush’s Geddy Lee is one of the best bassists ever!

I still do it. I still listen to songs all the way through, only focusing on the bass. Sometimes it’s the guitar. I often focus only on the harmonies and backing vocals.

When the song ends, though. I can play repeat it. Hopefully, I have the next song queued.

Admittedly, I get into a little bit panicked when a song ends and I’m bombarded with silence. I always have a few tunes “Up Next.”

A great story on Medium related to this is 13 Paradoxes You Can Use To Improve Your Life Today.

Happiness is Not A Goal

Like I wrote on my How to Be Happy page:

Don’t focus on happiness as the goal. Do the things that build happiness:

Work to max out your happiness accounts.

Do Happiness.

Happiness is a By-Product of a Life Well Lived

Live well, and happiness will happen.

Living well doesn’t mean a midnight snack of caviar and champaign in the passenger’s seat of your Audi R8 parked next to your helicopter on your yacht’s helipad.

It simply means living. Well.

Quality time and the quality of time.

That means you actually have to live. You have to do the healthy and productive things that make deposits into your happiness accounts, including time to do nothing.

For more quotes, check out my Inspiring Happiness Quotes page!

What are your ideas of quality time? Please share in the comments below.


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