Sunday, June 17, 2007

Seeking Happiness

We think we know what will make us happy. We remember the feeling of that promotion or raise we worked so hard to get. We remember getting our first new car. What we don't usually remember is how long that lasted.

For many of us it wasn't a long period of time. Two weeks after the promotion were we just as happy as we were on the day of getting it? After driving our new car for a couple of months were we as happy as when we first drove it off the car lot?

Our happiness is very fleeting and so we press on to find the next thing that will make us happy. We strive for the next promotion or thing and achieve it but it doesn't bring us the same level of happiness we first experienced.

It is like eating a banana creme pie. The first bite is everything that we expected but by the 5th bite it has lost it's uniqueness and it becomes ordinary. It is similar to a need to always seek peak experiences for an adrenaline junkie.

Is this the route to happiness? The continual seeking or is their another way. Does making a contribution matter? What can we do on a daily basis that would keep us in a happy state? Or is that a pie in the sky wishful thinking?

Your thoughts?

11 conversations:

Comedy + said...

No I don't think this is a pie in the sky wishful thinking. Happiness comes from within. What you have been talking about are events that make us happy. I think happiness is our own self growth, and how we approach life.

How we feel about ourselves in every aspect of our lives. No one thing or person can make us happy. That power lies within each of us and nowhere else.

Another great mind tickler Peter. :)

Rhianna said...

Happiness comes from within :)

dick7517 said...

After my third tour in Vietnam I just live for each day. I don't want too be too serious but I learned over there that you might not have the next day. I still plan for things but I tend too enjoy what I have.

Michele said...

What keeps me happy is able to accomplish one goal whether it be small or big. Small can be as simple as writing a letter, making a phone call, paying a bill to larger goals such as finishing a piece of artwork, organizing the pantry, etc. If I can accomplish a task/goal, I feel good about myself and it makes me happy and therefore everyone around me is happy...hehe.

Peter Haslam said...

Thank you Sandee, rhianna, dick7517 and Michele. The consensus so far is from within and determined by ourselves.

HollyGL said...

I'm not great about doing this consistently, but it does work for me to notice even the tiniest things in my life to be grateful for. It's amazing how effective that can be in eliciting a state of happiness.

Derrick Kwa said...

Dan Gilbert's TED talk ( has some interesting points on this topic. You might want to check it out, if you haven't already.

Personally,I think it's a matter of expectation and what we want from life. To quote Barry Schwartz, "The key to happiness is low expectations".

enelrae said...

I have never been a goal setter, but if good things happened I felt great and it would keep me going til the next "windfall happened". As I grow older simple things give me joy and happiness. I love how animals are attracted to me, and children. My flowers make me happy especially when I have taken a cutting and planted it and it becomes a beautiful plant. I spent a good bit of time in my younger years waiting for that "special" person to make me happy only to find out that I am that "special" person.
You are a grest thought motivater.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Hi Peter, your blog The Pleasing Syndrome inspired me to write a blog about it today :)

paisley said...

i have found that contentment is more attainable and longer lasting than the pursuit of happiness....both can be extremely illusive tho if one is not an active participant in their own life.....

Peter Haslam said...

HollyGL good way to consistant happiness
Derrick making it easy to achieve is smart
Enelrae we are all special and gifts we can give to others good addition
Good points on The real Mother Hen
do go and read
Good point Paisley