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Faaiz Rasheed Asma Sabir SS 100 Writing and Communication November 16, 2010 What gives us more pleasure and satisfaction; the pursuit of our desires or the attainment of them?

The driving force behind mans action is the achievement of his goal. He is locked in a relentless pursuit of his desires. So, to answer the question posed in the prompt, we need to first define desires. Desire is the fuel that feeds our motivation. It helps to shape and intensify our goal directed behavior. Desire is a subjective term that varies greatly from person to person. Some long for wealth, other women, while some just want a simple life. The pursuit of these desires offers man individuality, experience, motivation and the essence of life itself. Even in the face of failure, man gains success in the form of what was learnt through striving for his goal. The attainment of desires may stimulate joy, but this joy is limited and usually less than anticipated. This problem is further aggravated by the fact that human desires are not consistent. So whatever the aspiration, the truth is that the pursuit of our desires gives us more satisfaction and pleasure as opposed to the attainment of them. The pursuit of our desires is more joyful because it gives us a sense of identity. Our conquest of happiness essentially defines the kind of life we lead. It influences the choices we make, our social circle, even our interests and hobbies. Therefore, this odyssey is, in fact, a mark of our existence. It is a candid statement explaining who we are. When this journey ends, in a sense, we cease to exist. We become one with all the people who have succeeded or failed to achieve their goals. We are stripped of our individuality. We lose the bliss of being

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exceptional. The only thing separating us form that mass, the only thing that makes us unique is the things we did to reach our goal. The effort that we made, the sufferings we went through and all the steps that we climbed; that is what makes us different. The creation of Pakistan provides a wonderful example. After the 1937 elections, Jinnah and the Muslim league started to unite the divided Muslims of the sub-continent under the banner of Islam. The struggle for independence had its roots in the two nation theory that Muslims and Hindus cannot coexist as a nation. The fight for an independent Islamic state gave the Muslims of India the identity of a separate a nation. After independence though, this identity vanished as the once united Muslims separated into Balochis, Pathans, Punjabis, Sindhis and Bengalis. Thus, the feeling of individuality is the reason why the pursuit is far more pleasing. Also, in the hunt of our goals, we come across several obstacles and obstructions which pose a challenge and give us an opportunity to improve ourselves. Our feeling of self worth is reinforced by taking on the challenge and overcoming these hurdles. Higher self worth translates into higher satisfaction. The example of South African Paralympics runner, Oscar Pistorius, highlights this point. Oscar was born with congenital absence of the fibula in both legs. When he was 11 months old, his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles. However, Oscar remained relentless in his drive and dream to become a professional runner. With the help of carbon-fiber prosthetics called the "Cheetah Flex-Foot", he is now the world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 m class. Although becoming a professional runner was his ultimate goal, Oscar has always stated that nothing gave him more satisfaction than the day he learned to walk using prosthetics. Hence overcoming the difficulties which lead to our aim is surely more satisfying than the aim itself.

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Moreover, the conquest of happiness is more fruitful since it feeds our fantasies and keeps us motivated. We associate high expectations with the effort we put in. It is human nature to overstate the reward. Our bloated perception of the end prize keeps us motivated. In reality though, the end may not be as fulfilling. We may achieve our goal but it may be lacking in quality. Aspiring celebrities provide a useful example. Upcoming musicians think that becoming recognized and well established in the music industry means fast cars, big houses and wild parties for life. Unfortunately, their success is severely limited. They can only afford all this leisures as long as they keep entertaining their audience. Also, the high life includes nosy paparazzi and obsessed fans that have become the bane of existence for many celebrities. So the point is when we head towards our dream, motivation is the factor that keeps our hopes alive, which keeps us determined and focused. Britney Spears, American teenage pop sensation, is a good example. She achieved unprecedented success at the mere age of 16 with her mesmerizing voice and dazzling looks. However, the world of a pop princess was not a bed of roses. She soon found herself engulfed in drugs, scandals and a ruthless media assault. Of course, what she earned was contrary to what she had expected. This goes to show that our expectations are far more enjoyable than the reality. Many people believe that true happiness is not earned until or unless the goal is achieved. The problem here is that there is no limit to a human beings desire. No aim or goal might be termed as permanent. The reason is that once an aim is fulfilled, man directs himself towards a new target. Complete satisfaction is never earned through fulfilling our desires. Take example of a person who has a thirst for money. In time he fulfills his goal and becomes a millionaire. Now, the same person wants to spend the money he earned, with so much work and struggle, to help the community. Hence, his aims change color according to the

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circumstances. Therefore, true happiness is not earned by fulfilling our desires; rather the source of true happiness is the effort we make to fulfill these desires. If we blindly accept that fulfillment of our aims gives more pleasure than the conquest, man is also forced to believe that if any case he fails to achieve his aims, happiness or satisfaction is not earned. This is not practically true. It is a fact that all human desires cannot be fulfilled, as outlined by Bertrand Russell. At some stages, one person might succeed in achieving his goal at the expense of the other failing to do so. This however does not mean that no happiness is earned. The experience a person gains in striving for his desires is much more significant. We can relate to a very recent example. The Pakistani tennis sensation Aisam-ul-Haq recently reached the doubles final in the renowned Wimbledon tournament but unfortunately could not win. In an interview conducted a year before this event Aisam clearly stated that it was his dream to win a Grand Slam tournament. In his conquest to fulfill his dream he at many times lost but kept fighting on. After playing the final, the respect he gained from not only his country but all over the world cannot be defined in words. In Pakistan he is considered a hero. In this example, the person was unable to fulfill his aim; his ultimate goal. But still the pursuit of it gave immense happiness. Truly the conquest of our desires is a greater source of satisfaction. Man, throughout life, struggles to achieve one aim or the other. As he moves on, his perception about goals and targets keeps on changing. This pursuit may never end as human desires are unlimited. The important thing is to recognize and cherish every step we take, every hurdle we cross or even the slightest of progress that we make. True delight does not lie at the end; the feeling of fulfillment is just a small part of the satisfaction we gained from the struggle. There is no denying that when we accomplish in achieving our aims a rush of happiness takes over, but the truth is this delight is nothing compared to what was gained on the road to

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fulfill these goals. Hence, this journey of ours provides us more pleasure and satisfaction rather than the attainment of our goals. Denis Waitely said it right: It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.

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Citations Russel,Bertrand The Conquest of Happiness. Services Club edition. 1999. Print Ali, Muhammad. The Emergence of Pakistan. Services Club edition 1988. Print Waitely, Denis. "Quotations on the pursuit of happiness". Think Exist. Web. 16 Nov 2010. <> Aisam ul Haq US OPEN. Web. 16 Nov 2010 <> Oscar Pistorius African Success. Web. 16 Nov 2010 <>