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I think you are on to something. I have always thought of the things we value as having either intrinsic value or extrinsic value; do we value the thing because it itself is good, or because it allows us to get something else that is good? Money, for example, has extrinsic value, because we only value it for what we can buy with it (unless you are coin collector, I suppose). Eating ice cream, on the other hand, has intrinsic value because we enjoy the sensation for itself.

I feel like a lot of very goal oriented people never get to the intrinsic value part, which is where the real purpose in life is. If you are always doing something in order to get something else, you are going to feel like you are on a treadmill. You have to eventually arrive at something you find intrinsically valuable.

Personally, I find a whole lot of things intrinsically valuable, which is probably why I am such a genuinely happy person.

That's kind of an artificial distinction though. If your goal is to experience nice things, then the two are irreconcilably indistinguishable.

A big part of happiness is enjoying what you have. On the other hand, happiness doesn't really matter all that much. It's only a goal if you don't know how to achieve it. Once you figure it out, you move onto some other goal until you become unhappy chasing that one.

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