Saturday, May 06, 2006
How happy can you be?
Interesting article about happiness in the "Grand Rapids Magazine" this month. The article is centered around a quote in Jonathan Haidt’s Book "The Happiness Hypothesis" “In the long run, it doesn’t much matter what happens to you” in regards to your level of happiness. This is based on the discovery that average level of happiness is inheritable. Basically, no matter how many material things you posses, no matter how much you see, do and love, it doesn’t matter. This concept explains why lottery winners do not suddenly become happy, and why when we achieve long term goals we are often disappointed.
Personally I don’t by this theory, my theory is you can make your own happiness, you just have to know what you are looking for. If you are looking for happiness in things you want (cars), a time in your life (when the kids are out of the house), taking a trip, or any finality, you will be sadly disappointed. “Happiness is not a destination, it’s a journey” to quote my hero "Zig Ziglar" . It’s not what you get, it’s what you become getting there. It's not a who, what, when or where. If you are not happy now, you won’t be happy when you take that trip, or get the car, or get that raise. You have to learn to be happy with the here and now.
Another great theory on happiness I read was from Stephen R. Covey in his book " The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
" when he said that you have to live by a principle based life. If you base your life on work, what happens when you loose your job. If you base your life on your spouse, what happens if you get a divorce. If you live a life based on principles, no matter what happens to you, you will always have those principles and you can use them to make decisions in your life that will allow you to have balance between the various areas of you life (work, marriage, etc…). Living a principle based life will also allow you to know what decision to make in every situation because if a decision doesn’t line up with your principles, you will know that is not what you should be doing, makes decisions easy.
Those are my thoughts on the topic of happiness, if you have any comments, or options, please feel free to shoot me an email, I would love to hear your thoughts on this.