“The more pleasure you seek the more unhappy you get”

We are the most in debt, the most obese, the most medicated and the most drugged up adult population in human history.


Because the culture seeks pleasure over happiness. Dr. Robert Lustig has pointed out seven differences between the two:

  1. Pleasure is short-lived.
    Happiness is long-lived.
  2. Pleasure is visceral.
    Happiness is ethereal.
  3. Pleasure is taking.
    Happiness is giving.
  4. Pleasure can be achieved with substances.
    Happiness cannot be achieved with substances.
  5. Pleasure is experienced alone.
    Happiness is experienced in social groups.
  6. The extremes of pleasure all lead to substance or behavioral addiction.
    There is no such thing as being addictive to too much happiness.
  7. Pleasure is dopamine.
    Happiness is serotonin.
    (These are two types of biochemicals / neurotransmitters that the brain makes to communicate between one neuron brain cell and another.)

Pleasure is what our culture is hooked on, always in search for bigger hits:

  • “Would you like fries with that?”
  • “The next big thing is here.”
  • “Open happiness.”

No matter how much we try pleasure is no substitute for happiness. We can’t seduce ourselves to believe happiness can be bought or manufactured.

Connection, love, generosity, contribution, making a difference…these are the things that lead to a life of happiness. Not so much what you get but what you can give.

(Check out the first five minutes of Dr. Robert Lustig’s interview and Simon Sinek’s take on dopamine.)

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