Yin & Yang: Why You Will Never Achieve Total Happiness

Yin and Yang

Take a step back, breathe and put things into perspective. Why are we chasing something that is unattainable?

Sometimes you have to stop and say “hey, wait a minute. Is this really what I want? Am I heading in the right direction?”

The eternal pursuit of happiness is nothing more than an illusion. I’m not talking from a philosophical viewpoint, but from a practical one.

If we’re going to go after something, why not make it something that is attainable and that makes a difference in our lives?

For a long time I thought I needed to get happiness from outside of myself. Sure, I had times where I felt better than others, but they always passed.

Life is cyclical in nature, and so is everything else on our planet. Perhaps it is not happiness we should seek, but peace. The search and pursuit of happiness may look innocent, but it can lead to greed, war and depression.


To be at peace, your expectations have to be fluid. There will be ups and downs in your life. Expect them and realize that they are a part of being human.

There is no good without bad. There can be no forward without backward.

Having proper expectations simply means that you have an accurate view of reality. It does not mean that you’re cynical. It means that you’re prepared. Whenever I’m creating something, like my books. I accept the fact that no one may buy them.

I am okay with that. I don’t expect massive success right away. If it comes, that’s cool, but growth almost always happens when we are faced with adversity.

So in essence, we should be thrilled when problems come our way. There are times when I am excited about my problems.

You may feel like your problems are stuff you’d like to get rid of, but think about the lessons they bring. If the going gets tough, I think about how it will feel when I have solved them and learned from them.


Life is a rollercoaster ride. The rollercoaster ride in and of itself does not have any meaning until you enter the picture.

Some people, like me, enjoy riding all kinds of rollercoasters. The thrill of observing yourself while being scared out of your mind is fascinating.

Then there are some people that think rollercoaster rides are horrible. The same goes for life. Two different people can experience the same situation, but come out of it with two different meanings.

Life is what you want it to be. Sometimes it’s negative, sometimes it’s positive. When you can accept life with its ups and downs, you will be one step closer to peace.


I still remember being 16 and embarking on the path of personal development. It all started when I got interested in lucid dreaming.

After that I slowly went to meditation and one thing lead to another. It’s been almost eight years of constantly growing and challenging myself.

When I look back, I realize that I was a completely different person back then. I see the hardships I went through and I see the growth that occurred during those periods.

The first few years were tough and painful. I had to release a lot of beliefs that weren’t serving me. I am still constantly improving myself, but as I’ve shifted my beliefs to more positive ones, I no longer resist change as much.

I know how hard it is to stay aware when you’re going through what seems to be the biggest emotional storm of your life, but you don’t have to be aware all the time, you only have to do your best.

You will have times when you’re pushing yourself too hard. That’s a part of the learning process; at least it is for me.

It is all too easy to get caught in the drama of life. The little details suck you and you don’t even notice it.

The more you breathe, stay present and look at life through a lens of curiosity and adventure, the more fun you will have.

While total happiness may not be possible, total peace is.

Photo Credit (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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  1. That’s a great attitude to life, preparing to accept the fact that everything might not go like you planned but still putting in the work and releasing your stuff!

    I like to think that there is no such thing as failure but sometimes it just takes longer to reach a goal than you would like, and sometimes the outcome isn’t what you would expect either. Still, as long as you don’t stop trying, you’ll get to see interesting things and live a life full of learning, growth and interesting adventures.

    • For me, it almost always takes longer to reach a goal than I had previously though, so I’ve started adding in some extra time whenever I do my estimates.

      Interestingly enough, my estimates have become more accurate, so it just shows you that you have to account for the unknown. You never know what will happen, and you never know when your goals may change, so enjoy the ride!

  2. I’m a person who seems genetically predisposed towards happiness, so when I keep free of drama and accept what is, I do seem to be genuinely happy. For me, this has a lot to do with gratitude. When I shut out the head noise, stop the struggling, and just relax into whatever situation I may find myself, there is always something (many things!) to be grateful for. And for me, gratitude always expands happiness.

    • That’s the conclusion I’ve come to as well. You don’t need the drama in your life. Opt-out from everything that gets you off track and focus on what matters.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jean!

  3. Good article once again.

    I think the biggest problem regarding happiness is that people in Western countries have wrong beliefs regarding what things produce lasting happiness and which ones do not. We have been socially conditioned to believe that a new car or a bigger house will bring happiness, and of course they do – they give a little boost for a short time, and then the happiness goes back to the level where it was before the purchase.

    Things that bring us long-lasting true happiness, are not externally motivated things, but rather internally motivated things, just like you indicated in your article, such as finding and following one’s own passion, committing to goals, maintaining good relationships, creating healthy habits, taking care of the body and soul, living in the present and so on.

    How much do the aforementioned things cost? Nothing. That might be the problem, because it is much more difficult for greedy people to make money if no one wants to attend the hollow rat race anymore just to get a new car, new brand clothes or a luxury apartment that one even really does not need.

    These things have been thoroughly researched, but still we believe what the advertisers tell us, and even the success of nations is still measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), whereas it should be measured by Gross Domestic Happiness.

    I don’t watch TV anymore or hang out with people who believe that a new BMW will make them happy. That’s my secret for a happy life. 🙂

  4. I’ve just discovered this site today and am immersed in it.

    Trying to work with clients who overwhelm themselves (and try to pull me into it!) with trivial tasks has been something that makes me want to pull my hair out at times. Now I can just point them here for lessons in how to achieve balance, priorities, and productivity along with some ideas for rest and relaxation!

    You’ve made my job easier! Thanks!

  5. Henri,

    I think there is definitely a yin and yang that you talk about in life. I’ve seen it in my own life and it’s only when I decided that I would approach everything with peace that i started to really enjoy my life. In many ways, I think the roller coaster ride is a necessary part of life in order to help us grow. Additionally, without a little bit of a roller coaster ride, life just might not be that interesting.

    • It’s funny, because sometimes I know that the ups and downs are necessary, but when I’m in one of the dips, I sometimes just want to get out of it. I think it’s natural that we feel bad when we’re going down, but the more you do it, the more you learn!

  6. Tom Huntington says:

    I just found my way to your article from Srinivas Rao who retweeted it my way. I very much like what you have to say and I applaud the wisdom about life you’ve gleaned in your short life so far (I’ve been working on this “personal development stuff” for over 30 years) and just now getting into to sharing some of what I’ve learned.

    I agree with and resonate with everything you say . . . . . . except for your title. Here’s a little taste of what I’ve learned about “happiness” so far (and trust me, I’ve put some serious study into the topic, ’cause when I was anything but “happy” when I was in my 20’s).

    I am now convinced that “happy” or “happiness” is a synonym for “being connected to the reality of yourself in the present moment” or one of my “book titles” (future books) is “Happy is Who You Are”. So I do believe (No! It’s more than a belief) that you can achieve “total happiness”, if you translate “happiness” to mean “being aware of and accepting of your Reality Self in the present moment” ’cause that’s how I now understand “happiness” and I’m happy in those moments of the day “when I am me”. I’m no longer “looking for” or “pursuing” happiness (I’m happy to report), but I am working at improving my skill at staying more consistently “aware and accepting of my Reality Self” in more of the moments and situations of each day. (“Reality Self” means the Whole You — including your strengths and weaknesses and your life situation in each moment.)

    Thanks for your post and thanks for letting me contribute to the discussion and learning.

    • I’m glad that you find our way over here, Tom!

      I completely agree that happiness can be achieved. It completely depends on how you look at it. The perspective I used in this article is one where total happiness cannot be achieved.

      We all have our own experiences of life and different words mean different things to us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Very thought provoking and interesting!

  7. Hi Henri, just popping in to say hi. Following your blogging journey with interest. You’re doing a great job over here. Also snap! I have the tao/yin yang image on my current post too. Yes, we have to avoid getting caught up in the little dramas.

    • Well hello, Annabel 🙂

      That’s a funny coincidence with the yin yang image. I quite like the design of it. It’s very harmonious.

      The dramas can easily take over if I’m not aware, but on the other hand, they can be quite fun if you’re aware while they happen.

      Thanks a lot for popping in to say hi!

  8. thank you for this post! i’m working on a piece now about how our greatest challenges often lead to our greatest gifts. for a long time, i mentally understood a lot of the concepts like enjoying the moment or looking at experiences where things don’t turn out as you want as learning experiences. it’s only recently i can honestly say, i’ve started to really embody them and live them in the moment. your post does a good job of capturing how that process evolves. thanks for sharing:-)

    • Thanks! It took me a few years to really start realizing what I had been reading about being in the now, too.

  9. Jenny Ann Fraser says:

    Hello Henri,
    I just discovered your site and I am anxious to read and learn more.
    It’s so true that happiness comes from within. That’s the only place to find it.
    What you write about acceptance is key. Life is a rollercoaster ride. Learn to sit back and enjoy and you will learn to be happy.
    I think that lasting inner peace is happiness. It’s the only happiness. If we all knew to look for that, and make the changes within ourselves that we need to to find it, we will.
    Thanks for a wonderful post!

  10. Personally I’ve been trying to find piece in my life again as I lost it to a broken heart a while back. It’s been a long ride and one that I’m still trying to get through.

  11. You have no idea how badly I needed to read something like this today.. I can’t tell you how much this post spoke to me.. so thanks a lot for writing this post and sharing these thoughts with us..

    • I’m glad you got something out of it! Thanks for commenting, and I hope you enjoy your stay 🙂

  12. Great post. I agree we can have total peace, but happiness I think its possible. Its just acceptance of everything, then everything becomes these great symphony, everything is just great. Its our mind that resists somethings, but till we change our thinking we will be in hell, losing the awareness of heaven. This I can attest to. I used The Work by Byron Katie.

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