Huffpost WorldPost

What Suffering Does

Posted: Updated:
This picture taken on March 7, 2014 shows a woman crying as she mourns at the scene of the terror attack at the main train station in Kunming, southwest China's Yunnan province. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself in a bunch of conversations in which the unspoken assumption was that the main goal of life is to maximize happiness. That’s normal. When people plan for the future, they often talk about all the good times and good experiences they hope to have. We live in a culture awash in talk about happiness. In one three-month period last year, more than 1,000 books were released on Amazon on that subject.

But notice this phenomenon. When people remember the past, they don’t only talk about happiness. It is often the ordeals that seem most significant. People shoot for happiness but feel formed through suffering.

Read the whole story at The New York Times