Happiness, Will You Know It When You See It?

Happiness
A key to success is recognizing happiness and defining what it means for you.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part three of a three-part series about the impact of fear and happiness on your ability to achieve success. Read part one here and part two here.

If I asked you to describe happiness, what would you describe? Stop and try to think about this question for a moment before reading on.

Happiness seems to have many definitions and descriptions. It is broadly defined as a sense of well-being that includes experiencing a variety of emotions such as joy, satisfaction, contentment and physical sensations such as pleasure, relaxation and comfort. But is happiness as simple as the experience of pleasure or an absence of fear? Is a life of pleasure a life of happiness? Is a life without fear a life of happiness? It is difficult to answer, isn’t it?

Today there is just so much talk about happiness and unhappiness—about who is happy and who is not, and about the constant pursuit of happiness. Frequently I hear people say that if only they could quit their jobs, tell their bosses off, leave their spouses, buy new houses, get into better shape or get more money, they would be happy. But how often does this work? Once the pleasure of leaving your job or spouse passes, do you necessarily remain happy, or do you find yourself once again looking for happiness? You often hear someone express happiness after having a great meal, playing a great game or having great sex. The trouble with happiness as pleasure is that once we experience something repeatedly, our brains become accustomed to it and, unfortunately, it loses the ability to provide us with enough pleasure in the future. This means that we must always find new ways to achieve pleasure or we feel let down the next time, so too much pleasure may not really lead to happiness.

 

 

 

A Personal Definition

How often have you sat down and considered what happiness means to you: what it would look or feel like? Many people define happiness as achieving success—financial, business, professional and personal success. But what exactly is success: how much success and how often? If you win a coveted achievement today, will it make you happy tomorrow? If you do not win a coveted award ever, if you do not achieve financial independence or find a gorgeous new spouse, if your business does not make you a multimillionaire, does that mean you will never become really happy? We all know of people who have the resources to provide a life of pleasure and success, and yet we know that many of these people do not report being happy all of the time or even most of the time.

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