I have an abiding interest in happiness.
Having experienced unhappiness (in many of its various forms), I can state categorically that I much prefer happiness. In fact, its pursuit underpins everything I do.
So, what is it?
Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary defines happiness as…
…a state of well-being and contentment.
Why is it important?
Well, as it turns out, happiness is apparently what the overwhelming majority of people want from life.
Hundreds of people have attempted to put the concept of happiness into words but, for me, nobody put it more succinctly than Aristotle when he said…
Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life; the whole aim and end of human existence.
But knowing what it is – and why its important – is one thing. Knowing how to achieve it is a very different thing.
The research that surrounds happiness is apparently abundant and, while the numbers vary slightly from one author to another, the consensus suggests that it is the result of three things – our genetics (50%), our circumstances (10%) and our intentional activities…the things we do on a day-to-day basis.
While there’s not much that we can do about our genetics, the clear message is that half of the things that determine our happiness are within our span of control. In other words, it’s up to us!
Even cursory reading of writings on the subject tells us that:
- Happiness is a personal responsibility. You have to determine what it means for you and you have to bring it about. You cannot rely on anyone or anything else for your contentment and well-being.
- Happiness should not be postponed. In life, there are no guarantees and so happiness must be viewed as a journey rather than a destination. Grab it where you can.
- Happiness requires two things – actions and decisions. It’s not going to happen for the simple act of wishing.
- Happiness is a skill…and the more you practice it, the better you get at it.
To summarise: Being happy – the state of well-being and contentment – is a worthwhile personal goal. Indeed, it should be our absolute priority and, since it’s within our grasp, we should be ridding ourselves of anything that stands in our path. Each of us is solely responsible for its definition and execution…and for our own outcomes – and that should happen without delay…every day!
That’s the WHAT of happiness. While we’ll periodically explore that in greater depth, the real focus of www.garydonaldson.net – is the HOW.
I contend that the pursuit of Happiness – through Simple living and Self-reliance – enables us to Have More For Less. Conversely, Have More For Less is the pursuit of Happiness through Simple Living and Self-reliance.
If you’re interested in what I have to say about happiness, I invite you to visit regularly and, if you’d like to discuss it – and exchange ideas on its attainment – feel free to drop around to the Have More For Less forum.