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Happiness and Difficulty

living a happy life includes accepting difficult times

❝Suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.❞ -Viktor Frankl

I'm 30 years old, and I just found a classic Nintendo at a garage sale. It comes with Super Mario brothers, so I'm excited to hook it up and play. I haven't played this game for well over a decade.

If you're not familiar with Super Mario Brothers, it's a video game about a plumber who's on a quest to rescue a princess from a turtle.

In each level, you start at the left side of the world and try to move to the right side to get to the castle. Getting to the castle allows you to get to the next level. Along the way, you have to avoid falling into holes in the ground. You also have to avoid turtles, mushrooms, and carnivorous plants that are trying to kill you. As you move up to higher levels, the game becomes more challenging.

Imagine a variation on this game. Imagine a game where you simply ran your character from the left side of the world to the right side of the world to get to the castle with nothing in the way. All you did was hold the "right" button on the controller until you got there.

That would be very boring, and you wouldn't play that game. A game without challenges is a game that you wouldn't play.

We can't get better unless we get practice - it makes us resilient


If we went out and asked 100 people to describe what it meant to be happy, nearly all of them would describe some version of joy, pleasure, laughter, and fun.

If we further ask these people to describe the relationship between difficult times and