What do You Live For: Pleasure or Happiness?

What do You Live For: Pleasure or Happiness?


The other night I interviewed my friend Pascal Lacroix for his new website. As we dove into how he left his small town in France to become the premiere bracelet jeweler, we explored his journey from pleasure to happiness.

At fifteen, after a couple of years of tutelage and abuse by his jeweler father, Pascal escaped to Paris to start his career. His hard work and talent brought success and the resources to pursue any pleasure he wished. He shared how he would ride his horse from one town to the next to attend parties. On his ride home, he would sleep as the horse took him home to start another workday.

Wanting more opportunities to succeed at his craft, he traveled to the US only to have all his jewelry and tools stolen. Working for a shop in San Francisco during the day and in a rented shop at night, he established a reputation for his bracelets.

His success allowed him to buy a bush plane that he flew throughout the west. After several close calls of flying through Sierras, Pascal had enough thrills; he sold his plane.

Hearing Pascal speak, you hear the subtle grief of giving up the pursuit of pleasure for the joy of creation. His tone shifted from excitement to peace. His new excitement is based on the challenge and joy of creating; he spoke about how no one has been able to create the mechanics of his bracelets. The challenge of finding that perfect party or lake to fly over was replaced by producing beautiful art.

Pascal’s sharing caused me to reflect on how I started out seeking adventure and pleasure only to stumble into a calling that, for 45 years, has brought me more challenge and joy than I knew existed. I discovered how we are programmed to seek pleasure, so we buy toys of pleasure. Observing other men and myself, I also realized that as men between the ages of 20 and 30, we often seek adventures that become the teachers and catalysts to discovering our calling.

Our ability to “grow up” depends on being willing to let go of pleasure for something that we do not know and that is unique to us. Doing it alone, as I did, is not an easy path. Doing it with your peers and a generation of men on the other side of that portal makes it much easier — and often more fun.

Doing it alone, no one laid out the distinction between pleasure and happiness (joy). The best description I heard comes from Robert Lusting, MD, a University of California, San Francisco professor:

If you’re confused between happiness and pleasure, don’t feel alone. Google “pleasure” and what you’ll read is “a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.” Money can buy you pleasure, but happiness has to come from somewhere else.  

If you’ve been told your entire life that pleasure is happiness, then you’re in [big trouble]. Pleasure is short-lived, visceral, usually experienced by oneself, and achievable with substances. Happiness, by contrast, is often the opposite—long-lived, ethereal (purposeful, transcendent), often experienced in meaningful social groups, and cannot be achieved through substances. Pleasure is taking, while happiness is giving. 

His short video on happiness nails it — it starts with connection.

When Pascal started connecting directly with his clients, he found a new purpose. His creations felt like — as he described them — personal gifts for his clients. When I connected to the opportunity to serve my clients, it felt like I had found the elixir of life.

Every week in my group, I see men light up when being themselves somehow serves another man. Sometimes it’s simply reflecting a man’s experience back to him. When we give a precious part of ourselves to another, we receive back a joy that warms our souls. 

The challenge here is that we must give up the immediate desire for pleasure to risk rejection of our offering — short-term pleasure vs. long-term joy.  

I am not suggesting we give up all pleasure and become monks. Are you willing to let go of holding on to pleasure for something over which you have less control?


What is your biggest pleasure(s)? What does pleasure give you? What about it do you hesitate to let go?

What is your quest for joy? What is your vehicle? For Pascal, it is his bracelets. For me, it started as Rolfing and is now our work.

How do you create the joy of contributing your unique gifts?


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Stories


A Paradigm Shift In Men’s Personal Growth

Podcasts. Supplements. Regiments. Smoothies. Meditation apps. Breathwork. Mindset. Cold Showers. Macros. Kettlebells. Men's retreats. Micro dosing. Coaches. Instagram. This is my 3 minute brainstorm of what men currently engage in to better themselves.

mens mental health

How to Support the Men You Love with Their Mental Health

Many men don’t know how to ask for help.

male to male relationships

Male to Male Relationships -Men Need Friends, Too.

If you show up with your guard down, others will let theirs down too.

Carl Radke

Carl Radke, Pittsburgh native and Syracuse University TV/Film grad has been working around the TV industry since he was 20 as a model/actor/production assistant. You may recognize Carl from starring as a TV personality on the hit Bravo reality series ‘Summer House’ which began airing in 2017 and Season 7 coming on the horizon. He also currently serves as VP of Sales for Loverboy and is a founding member of the growing better for you alcohol brand. Carl has always had a close relationship to mental health advocacy with his involvement with Heal Our Heroes/Headstrong, a non-profit for mental health resources for our military veterans. Through his own mental health journey Carl has been focused on meditation, therapy, acupuncture to compliment his self care. In August 2020 Carl lost his older brother to several years of addiction and mental health issues. Carl hopes to share his journey and his brother’s story to help families and individuals to break the stigma around addiction and mental health in our society.

Carl Radke

Stay Informed

Want to stay updated with latest retreats, programs and helpful articles from EVRYMAN? Join our monthly newsletter.