The short answer is: “Yes, sometimes, even often.”
Why? Because our impulses, our intuitions, our social conditioning around what will make us happy are all too often wrong. And, most likely, as you read this, you are saying “Yeah, yeah I know that”. And yes, you probably do know it on an intellectual level and you just as probably, on a rather regular basis, don’t do as well as you know.
Our hustle-achievement culture, our consumption-oriented capitalist culture, for all its benefits and comforts, thrives on convincing us that happiness lies in the never-ending accumulation of material possessions. All well and good until we put the cart before the horse and our possessions begin to own us and we lose the ability to step off the hedonistic treadmill and enjoy sunsets with friends.
True lasting happiness and contentment lies in having deep social connections, finding or creating a sense of purpose and cultivating emotional intelligence and self-knowledge. None of this is necessarily easy (the journey within can be challenging yet the cave we most fear to enter holds the treasure we seek) nor is it instantaneous. In other words, it can be work. So yes, the path to enduring happiness can take effort and often requires re-writing/updating our internal software.
“I have a sneaking suspicion that leading an examined life and being really tan aren’t consistent with one another.” – Dov Davidoff
“It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on the battlefield.” – Cornel West
“You are not responsible for the programming you picked up in childhood. However, as an adult, you are one hundred percent responsible for fixing it.” – Ken Keyes Jr.
“The fountain of content must spring up in the mind and he who hath so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the grief he proposes to remove.” – Samuel Johnson
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier