The Cost of Happiness

There is an economic principle known by its acronym, TINSTAAFL. It stands for: There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, meaning, of course, that nothing is free, that everything has a cost.

It is also a principle of Happiness.

The Cost of being Happy

Happiness takes work … real work! It requires change and moral growth and developing qualities and traits that may not yet be fully formed. It requires overcoming some bad habits of thought and behavior and developing some new ones.

Happiness pitfalls have to be identified. Principles that produce the joy we seek must be implemented. Personal characteristics must be learned and worked on to begin to feel the quiet stirrings of inner peace and joy and happiness.

And while it’s true that we all want to be happier, far fewer are willing to pay its price, just as there are fewer willing to do the work of losing weight and living healthy, eating healthy food and working out regularly than those passively wishing to lose weight or tone up or get healthy. The lip-service is easily paid; the commitment falls woefully short.

There is little in life of value that doesn’t come at the end of a trail of blood, sweat and tears. Happiness is no different … and in many ways, even more difficult.


1. Happiness requires doing things differently. It may require stepping out of your comfort zone. It may require making friends or reaching out in service to others. It may require slowing down or speeding up (depending on where you are to begin with!). It may require that you laugh and smile and learn something new or do something you’ve never done before.

2. Happiness requires thinking things differently. Attitudes are difficult things to change. Patterns of thought can be very stubborn. Optimism and a positive attitude are just two such required traits that are not easy to acquire. What you think about and how you habitually think about it determines levels of happiness. Negativity is a product of the mind. Worry and fear and stress are largely products of the way we habitually think. Changing such patters takes sustained effort over time.

3. Happiness requires living differently. Happiness is dependent upon sound character. It requires developing moral traits that affect happiness. Patience and faith must be worked on. Kindness and selflessness and compassion and decency are all moral qualities needed to live truly happy, peace-filled lives of moral conscience.


Creating a richly meaningful life, for example, requires new ways of doing things (acts of service, smiling more often), new ways of thinking about what is done (interpreting life differently, focusing on what’s good about life over what’s not) and new ways of living (developing love and overcoming bad habits that depress or disappoint).

Final Thoughts

Life is an uphill climb. Sometimes it’s an outright battle. Happiness is why we climb at all. Happiness will be the reward at the end of that climb if we take the path that leads to it. But it will also be sprinkled liberally along the way as we do the work necessary to get at it.

But the cost of a happy life lies at the heart of the person seeking it. It hides in the hidden chambers of the soul. It sneaks behind closed doors of the human mind. It is, in fact, the byproduct of the condition of the heart, mind and soul.

And that is the reason why the cost of happiness is a difficult one to pay. It requires regular attention and regular effort and a degree of patience that can be extremely difficult to sustain. But you can be happy.

You can increase the joy of living. You can experience the swelling motions of a happy life as the principles of happiness are learned and applied. It is then that the effects of such principles applied correctly can be felt as joy and peace and a sense of confident happiness. You can rise above the obstacles to happiness and begin living a beautiful and rewarding life … if you’re willing.

It is my sincere desire that you come here willing to get to work, willing to take the necessary steps to inch your way to a happier, more fulfilling and richly rewarding life … one day, one step, one trait at a time.

The reward will be well worth the cost paid.

Please comment and share your own struggles with happiness. What costs have you paid for happiness? What obstacles have you overcome in its pursuit?