Ditch the pursuit of happiness and seek out wonder instead

One of the smartest people I know taught me to spend my money and time on experiences, not things. It is excellent advice that I try really hard to follow. I often cheat by having experiences with my things, but I acknowledge that I was wrong about things making me happy. Do I also have the wrong idea about happiness? 

Monica Parker wants us to prioritize wonder over happiness. She argues that in our quest to be happy all the time, we can fall victim to toxic positivity. Cutesy phrases like "Positive vibes only!" rob us of the experience of the full range of emotions we need to process our existence. We are terrible at knowing what will make us happy, anyway, so it's a fool's errand. She wants us to forget about happiness and pursue wonder instead.

From her book The Power of Wonder: The Extraordinary Emotion That Will Change the Way You Live, Learn, and Lead:

Wonder makes us more creative and more desirous of studying the world around us. It makes us more humble, less materialistic, more generous, and better community members. Wonder makes us less stressed and feel like we have more time. Wonder quite simply makes us want to be better, more tolerant people.

To experience wonder, first, we need to slow down. Parker suggests three methods for accomplishing this: meditation, narrative journaling, and sleep. All three provide benefits on their own, but they can be even more effective as a vehicle for getting to a place of wonder. Parker uses the term "wonderbringers" for whatever brings you a sense of wonder. An indication that you are in the presence of a wonderbringer is it gives you goosebumps. So take a nap, meditate, write in your journal, and find something that gives you goosebumps.