This post is inspired by an article by a Brit who was suffering from culture shock here in Silicon Valley. (Note: I am actually in Tucson, Arizona, but most of the time I hang out in Silicon Valley.)
I am in general agreement with the author on a few points, including the general theme: That the pursuit of happiness is a self-defeating goal. Happiness shouldn't be an end in itself. But then again, I am not quite convinced that the Brits' laser-like focus on cynicism really makes them happier either.
My real belief is that happiness should be a side effect of a sensible pursuit of other more plausible goals. Or maybe it is just something you experience when you finally doze off to sleep knowing that you have a few hours before the storms of life become apparent to you again.
The real Christian pursuit, however, is of suffering: "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'" (Matthew 16:24). Or perhaps "present your bodies as a living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1), which means volunteering for some Indiana Jones style treatment by the barbarians, but of a life-time duration. And Jesus enticed the apostle Paul to convert with this promise: "For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." (Acts 9:16) The joy is something we are supposed to look forward to in another life. Or maybe it is something that the pain just brings out. For the time being, pain is cool and happiness isn't.
Those who are worried about whether they are happy or not clearly have too much idle time.