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What Is Happiness To You?
“Happiness is when what you think,
what you say and what you do are in harmony.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Happiness. Now, this is a big topic.
Let’s take a look at a few definitions.
Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book “The How of Happiness” (2007), defines a happy person as “someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride, and infrequent negative emotions such as sadness, anxiety, and anger.”
The website, www.self-improvement-advice.org, states:
“Happiness is a state of mind in which our thinking is pleasant, at least for a good portion of time. Note that it is a state of mind, NOT a set of happenings.”
The Greek philosopher Aristotle once asked:
“What is the ultimate purpose of human existence?”
He answered the question as “eudaimonia” which is often translated as “happiness”.
However, deeper exploration reveals that he more often refers to this as the final goal or destination or totality of one’s life.
He is quoted as saying:
“…for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy.”
To me, this last definition ties in directly with knowing yourself, how you tick, and what will your body of work reveal about you.
Aristotle also said:
“We are what we repeatedly do.”
What we do stems directly from what we believe.
Japanese educator, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi alludes in his work “Education for Creative Living” that happiness to one might be the attainment of status, to another the procurement of wealth, and to someone else the achievement of a big goal. (He goes on to infer that these are woefully insufficient happiness drivers.)
So is this “happiness thing” a subjective definition and state or are there objective measures that we can look to?
I say both.
The state of being “happy” infers a feeling of well-being or elation that most people can easily relate to, particularly when it comes to relative happiness - that is to say, a moment of temporary joy or bliss, generally stemming from an outside stimulus - the smile from an unexpected guest, a check in the mail, big bright sunshine when one wakes up, the wag of the dog’s tail.
To each of us, what triggers these moments will be subjective.
If you are afraid of dogs, then the tail wag as a canine charges in your direction will not give rise to any sense of elation.
At the same time, a natural human element that is common to most is the quest for meaning - the sense that one has a purpose, a reason for existing, a need for belonging—perhaps the want for love (however that is defined - and that’s a big one, too!)
Here’s where complexity sets in and the debate and dialogue rage on.
Happiness is not the quest itself yet comes from the quest.
Happiness is not belonging (because much belonging involves suffering) yet can stem from belonging.
Happiness is not the purpose in and of itself yet is derived from the fulfillment of the purpose.
To me, happiness can in no way be divorced from actual living.
We seek it and sometimes it acts elusive.
We pursue it and have to check ourselves to remember the moments of it along the journey.
We build our inner reservoir and hope that when the need arises, our inner tank is full enough to find it once again when lost.
Or maybe it is the smile of a baby, the warm water in the shower, the rays of sun after a cloudy day, the gentle rain in the spring, the breath of a puppy, the waves of the ocean, a fine glass of Cabernet, the laughter of your child, paying it forward, a big fat steak, or laughing until your stomach hurts.
What’s happiness for you?
Ridgely Goldsborough is the co-founder of JV Hacking, the revolutionary program and software that teaches affiliates how to make a fortune doing Joint Venture Marketing. Find out more at www.JVHacking.com.
Ridgely Goldsborough started his first business at age 16 - and has since founded 43 companies and written 16 business books. His prolific profile has earned him millions of dollars and a vast network of JV partners - which he taps into often to execute some of the digital marketing industry's biggest JV launches. And while he often speaks at high-end masterminds and events around the world, JV Hacking marks the first time he's sharing his proven JV strategies in public.
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