November 20th, 2011 9:02 AM by Lehel S.
Your Pursuit of Happiness
I've been thinking about happiness. Specifically, in the days since our World Class Life Conference ended, I've been pondering the keys to total happiness and a wonderful book by the Dalai Lama, "The Art of Happiness".
The Dalai Lama argues that, fundamentally, we all seek more and greater happiness in our lives and that the one really key questions in life is, "What makes me truly happy?"
For many people, happiness is related to money, and happiness means accumulating wealth. For them, money has great value and they are motivated to work hard and smarter, and to use money in ways that make them happy. But there are thousands of individual differences in the details of exactly how that works. Some make money and give it all away. Some make money and hoard it, even burying it in the backyard, while others invest it, and still others make a show of displaying a wealth of possessions.
For others, happiness has little to do with money, and they seek fulfillment in their creativity, or they find ultimate happiness in family relationships, or by serving others.
There are many paths up the mountain called "happiness"!
One of the most important distinctions the Dalai Lama makes is between happiness and pleasure. We can all think of experiences that bring us delightful pleasure but which utterly fail to make us "happy" in life. Almost everyone enjoys a fine meal, perhaps with good wine, but we all reject a life of gluttony and drunkenness.
So the question: What makes you truly happy?
This is a central question for the World Class Life Conference because in order to have a GREAT life, we must first determine what it might look like. What are the key pieces of a great and joyful life FOR YOU?
Almost 150 years ago, Henry Thoreau wrote that most people "live lives of quiet desperation", and sadly, I think that's still true. All our wealth and freedom, our education and power, even access to the greatest wisdom and literature of past generations, has not created a society in which most people seem truly happy.
Indeed, many people seem to be incredibly unhappy. While some are overtly miserable, millions more are stressed, anxious, uncomfortable or angry. Some focus their discomfort on their work, others on politics or public policy, while some are simply annoyed by noise, pollution or road construction. Whatever the details, the question remains:
With our incredible freedom to create the life we truly want and live as we please, why aren't more people happy?
I think this is a vital question. It may even be THE question for modern adults to ponder and answer. Given that you can live almost anywhere you choose, read and learn almost any skill, and have pretty much any lifestyle you want, WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
What are your happiest memories? What are your happiest fantasies, dreams and aspirations? Who do you know who seems to be truly, massively happy?