What Makes People Happy?

by Jason on December 16, 2009

Wouldn’t you agree that happiness can be elusive?

I mean, doesn’t it seem like it’s what we all strive for and yet many of us never find it.

It’s like the tighter you try to grab hold of it, the more we choke it to death and never receive it.

The more you run after it, the further away it seems to get.

The more we search and clamor for it the less likely we’ll find it.

It seems like one of life’s huge paradoxes.

Here’s what I mean:

Work and Happiness

Many times we think I’ll find happiness when I sink my life into my work.  So we work 60-70 hours a week to get the big promotion and once we achieve it the happiness wears off and so we look for the next big promotion to work for.

A very interesting display of this was Tom Brady in a 60 Minutes interview talked about his Super Bowl rings and essentially said that he’s been to the top and has still asked himself, “Is this all there is to life?”

People and Happiness

What we really need to be happy is a significant other.  So we pursue and chase until we find someone that gives us those warm fuzzies only to realize that a few months later or a few years later those warm fuzzies are gone and we “aren’t happy any more” or we “don’t love them any more”.

I think this is why the divorce rate is upwards of 50% – we think people will make us happy and we are disappointed when they don’t – at that point, we think the answer is to leave.

Health and Happiness

Good health is one of those things you take for granted until it’s gone – and then it’s something we wish we had back.

Many of us pour hours into going to the gym, working out and eating right to help achieve happiness in our health.
But above a certain standard of health – are we really more happy as we get healthier?

Money and Happiness

Will money make us happy?  Sure, up to a certain point.  It’s fun to make, save and use our money to help others.

But once you reach a certain standard of living where you don’t have to worry about your expenses any more does money really bring that happiness that we’ve wanted?

Things and Happiness

Boats, cars, electronic gadgets, new golf clubs – you name it – will bring a certain amount of happiness, but just like anything else the luster wears off and we are left thinking to ourselves, “I need to buy something new again”.

The Key to Happiness – My Theory

Happiness isn’t derived from health once you are above the minimum standard.

It isn’t wealth after you’ve met a certain standard of living.

It isn’t things after the initial luster has worn off.

It isn’t people if we are using them for our own pleasure and benefit.

Happiness is found in the quality of relationships and the living out of our purpose here on earth.

To create quality in a relationship two things need to happen:

  1. Time needs to be spent together
  2. The other person’s needs should be put before your own.

If both people are doing that you develop a great rhythm in relationship with each other.

Yet how do we spend our time?

Are we spending time with the people we love, friends we enjoy hanging out with and people we should be serving or do we have our noses to the grind trying to make something of ourselves?

What are your thoughts?

Do you agree or disagree with my assessment?  What is it that makes you most happy?

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