LOOKING AT WHAT HAPPINESS IS – AND WHY IT SEEMS ELUSIVE TO MANY
The state of happiness is an ultimate life goal. When asked what we want out of life, many say a version of: “I just want to be happy.” But what does this mean, and how will we know when we have got there?
Of course, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to happiness because each of us holds different things dear. What makes one person happy might be another’s worst nightmare…
So, is there any point in giving advice about the pursuit of happiness? Well, it appears so because there seems to be five fundamental principles about happiness of which we should all be aware.
MONEY DOESN’T REALLY MAKE YOU HAPPY
This is the big one! Perhaps surprisingly, there is no blanket correlation between material possessions and lasting happiness. Apparently, more than half of all lottery winners surveyed report being LESS happy two years after the win than before it.
And household income… A study in 2010 by Princetown University shows that you become happier the more you earn – but only to a point. Translated into sterling, and adjusted for inflation, earnings BEYOND approximately £75,000 pa do not contribute to actual happiness at all.
So, what are the other principles that should be considered outside of financial security?
- Happiness is a journey rather than a destination. It is often the feeling we enjoy when taking positive action, and progress is being made towards a worthy goal, be that at work or at home.
- Happiness is generated within – not externally. The ball in the net makes eleven players happy and the other eleven sad. It depends on what you decide an external event means to you and how that is reinforced in your mind as a positive experience or a negative one.
- Happiness precedes success. Many think that success ‘causes’ happiness. This is the wrong way round. The happier you are in yourself the more successful you are likely to be.
- Happiness is boosted by positive experiences rather than possessions. A meaningful event is enhanced by remembering it. A new possession may feel good at the time – but quickly becomes the ‘norm’, resulting in the never-ending chase for the next temporary high.
- Happiness is earned by people who find a balance between being happy now – and investing in future happiness. As business owners and leaders – we need that balance!
So, we believe it is best to explore how these principles apply to ourselves, rather than follow other people’s dreams and desires in the hope that we achieve their happiness. As the late great preacher, Charles Spurgeon once famously expressed: “it is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”