Everyone in this world commits an inevitable mistake for major part of their lives, and that mistake is to seek happiness directly. You might get curious about this as it sounds paradoxical. It is our general perception that when we want to achieve something we have to put a great effort in it, it is true for most of the things in life, but not for the lot. As in this case the same effort is enough to make you unsatisfied and unhappy with your life.
Constant Struggle and desire for happiness
When someone dreadfully wants to achieve happiness, it is incredibly hard to wait and be enduring about it. This results in great physical and mental agitation. Constant and impatient desire to attain happiness lead to miser, because constant desiring means that you are not satisfied with the present moment and your present life. There is almost always something positive about your present life, but you are completely incapable to see it and value it, due to constant desiring to attain happiness.
With great desire to attain happiness there is constant judgment, whether you are happy or not. This judgment also contributes to the anxiety in great deal. George Bernard Shaw points towards this fact by saying:
"The only way to avoid being miserable is not to have enough leisure to wonder whether you are happy or not”
Rejection of failure and disappointment
When expectation of attaining happiness is incredibly high, it leads to total rejection of failure, which consequently leads to agitation. There is no patience to accept failure and sorrows. Failure and sorrows are part of everyone’s life, and a very natural part of it. To expect everlasting happiness throughout your life is utterly impractical, and can lead to nothing but disappointment.
Series of experiments conducted by an assistant professor in psychology at the University of Denver Iris Mauss and her colleagues, led to a result showing that the pursuits of happiness can make you unhappy. She hypothesizes that the people set high standards of obtaining happiness due to high valuation of happiness, consequently they fail to achieve them and this lead them towards unhappiness.
"If you explicitly and purposely focus on happiness, that appears to have a self-defeating quality." Says iris Mauss.
How to avoid it?
Keep your expectations realistic. Stop expecting to have a life without any sorrow, disappointment and failure. Start accepting these as main part of life, as without the concept of sorrow there is no value to happiness, because the absence of sorrow is what we call happiness. So sorrow adds a value to happiness.
There are always positive aspects of your present life, try to notice and embrace them. Accept the negative aspects as inevitable and natural part of the life.