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The Key to Happiness

  1. Jul 3, 2009 #1
    A simple question: What is the key to happiness in today's world.

    I found my answer in a very inspiring and practical quote I read somewhere. I would like to hear what everyone else has to say on the topic. I'll disclose my opinion in the end.

    Please give as much of your opinions as you can on this topic.

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 3, 2009 #2
    I don't know the recipe for happiness but i do know that ignorance helps a lot.
  4. Jul 3, 2009 #3


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    That's a big one, but honestly - your happiness (and misery) is in your own hands. A lot more that what we would like to think is in our control, and even when we can not change existing facts - we can change what we do with them.

    I have to add my favorite quote right now : "Getting mad is a way to punish yourself for someone else's stupidity".

  5. Jul 4, 2009 #4
    I really like what Victor Frankl says about happiness:

    "If there is a reason for happiness, happiness ensues, automatically and spontaneously, as it were. And that is why one need not pursue happiness, one need not care for it once there is a reason for it. But, even more, one cannot pursue it. To the extent that one makes happiness the object of his motivation, he necessarily makes it the object of his attention. But precisely by doing so, he loses sight of the reason for happiness, and happiness itself fades away."

    Happiness is a function of meaning, the result of fulfillment of a goal. Seeking happiness for its own sake is chasing a chimera.
  6. Jul 4, 2009 #5
    I liked that quote of Victor Frankl- if there is a reason for happiness, it will come to you itself.
    But, what is that reason for happiness? That is the bigger question. What is the one biggest reason for a human being to be happy in the world as it is today?
    I feel the answer is satisfaction, as buddha has said. But, how do you achieve that satisfaction in life... in a world like our's?
    I haven't disclosed the quote that really inspired me yet, I still want to hear more from you.
  7. Jul 5, 2009 #6


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    This is a non-answer. You've simply defined the unmeasurable word 'happiness' in terms of another equally unmeasurable word 'satisfaction'.
  8. Jul 5, 2009 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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  9. Jul 5, 2009 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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  10. Jul 5, 2009 #9
    the key to your happiness is by helping the others to be happy.
  11. Jul 5, 2009 #10
    In todays world happiness is found in money.
  12. Jul 5, 2009 #11


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    No. I think money can mask unhappiness for a duration. But I think peoples' happiness is an internal quality. An unhappy person who wins the lottery may feel happy for a while (even a long while) but once their life stabilizes, they will revert to the same level of happiness. Likewise, those with very little money who are happy internally, will be happy regardless.

    This does not mean people cannot find happiness, or lose it. But the money is a catalyst, not a determinant.

    Then again, I cannot claim impartiality. I have not suffered grinding poverty in my life except for the kind and extent that builds character.
  13. Jul 6, 2009 #12

    "My formula for happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal."
    F. Nietzsche
  14. Jul 6, 2009 #13


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    For me, happiness is the satisfaction that I feel when I have done something well.

    For years, I got feedback from crowds while playing music. There isn't much better feedback than getting cheers and applause from people who are spending their hard-earned money to listen to you play and sing. That was easy, when I was able to be in the presence of people wearing colognes, perfumes, and scented laundry products. Those days are over.

    Nowadays, things are a bit more subjective, and I have to measure my performance against my expectations. I look at my home, kitchen, wood-pile, garden, etc, and think of what I have done to get this stuff up to snuff and what I have done to help my neighbors with their projects. I spent the entire weekend helping a neighbor and his son tear down and rebuild an old Ford 250. We did seals, gaskets, water pump, electrical parts, etc, and that old work horse is purring like a kitten. I'll help the old man clean and refurbish the body tomorrow or the next day and we'll mount that this week sometime - his son is back in Mass working on a road-crew. I'm pretty happy, though lots of folks in my position would not feel that way. I have a sister who works in health-care and who performs on weekends in a pretty popular band, and she is constantly miserable (or at least wants me to believe that she is miserable and listen to her problems). The happiest times that I have ever seen her enjoy is when I'd get her to sit in with me in my band and we'd do vocal duets on standards like "Brown Eyed Girl", "Mustang Sally", etc, and fill the dance floor.

    To people who give a hoot: we are our own worst critics. It is easy to get the popular acclaim of others if you are good at something. It's a lot harder to get your own self-respect when you know your capabilities and feel that you've fallen short.
  15. Jul 6, 2009 #14


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    I think happiness is relative and individual - different things would make different people happy to different degrees. Happiness is largely like an opinion - so this is like asking "What is the prettiest color ?" every person would give a different answer.

    All this excludes those who are by character unhappy - misery is an absolute.....

  16. Jul 6, 2009 #15


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  17. Jul 6, 2009 #16
    Like I said before, I hadn't quite defined satisfaction in that very post. As I said, I'll disclose the quote in the end. This is it: 'The key to happiness is something to do, something to want, and someone to love'.

    You see, the quote defines satisfaction as 'something to do, something to want, and something to love'. So, satisfaction isn't immeasurable, and happiness, i.e., the way in which a person feels satisfaction, is an individual thing. Some people find satisfaction in helping others (mohd adam), while others find it in earning more and more money, though money is kind of a different thing… a catalyst, just as DaveC436913 said.

    The reasons for which a person becomes happy, or the amount of happiness one feels could be a result of inheritance.
  18. Jul 21, 2009 #17
    ignorance is bliss!

    Words like selfish and respect come to mind.
  19. Jul 22, 2009 #18
    ...ignorance is bliss because I believe one can't be truly happy if one knows someone else is unhappy...

    "please don't chase the clouds pagodas" - as long as you have no expectations and things you must have or achieve I think you could be happy - just living in the moment.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2009
  20. Jul 22, 2009 #19
    Happiness may be a state in brain, that can be achieved either by mental manipulation
    (Yoga,...), drugs (alcohol, narcotics, nicotin,...), physical activities (yogging,...) or
    good news to you. To mention some possible, more or less durable, reasons for "happiness".

    I have often wondered how people in miserable, uncomfortible or otherwise bad conditions
    (crippled soldiers, starving natives) still may look so happy in pictures and videos.

    Religious people also appear happy. Perhaps expecting something good waiting for them, if only first in next life, make you feel happy.

    "Don't worry, be happy." :wink:
  21. Jul 22, 2009 #20
    Happiness is not contemplating happiness. It's like a beautiful woman or a lucid dream. Chase it with desires and it flies away. Capture it and it loses its potency. Surrender the ego to it and it's yours forever. I've always found it when I'm not looking. She's a byzantine lover.

    This is akin to the statement "ignorance is bliss", but that expression never satisfied me.
    Happiness identifies a mind in place and time as a singular entity, giving it purpose in the immediate condition, rather than ego-driven actions wrestling with reality towards some desired outcome. That's a chain of events with no end. Happiness doesn't preclude awareness of the world. It just works despite it, and sometimes in favor of it.

    Just shut up and dance.
  22. Jul 22, 2009 #21
    If happiness is sought in achieving a goal, then as soon as the goal is achieved, the happiness will begin to fade and you will feel compelled to reach for the next goal. (It doesn't work; I know, I've tried.) If happiness is sought through getting stuff, then there will never be enough stuff - once you get what you were after, the happiness will fade and you will only desire more stuff. Seeking happiness in people, things, recognition, or goals is like trying to grab both hands full of wind - as soon as you grasp it, it is gone.

    The one key I have found to happiness in this life: gratitude.
  23. Jul 22, 2009 #22


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    And this is bad how?
  24. Jul 22, 2009 #23
    For me a good portion of my happiness is to be had in my music making.
    I think people forget to think about everything they've already achieved.
    I look back on all the music I've made so far and I almost feel content, like I could die now and be happy with what I had done.

    Also, I think happiness is a general outlook on life. Maybe it can be a thought, a sensory experience like watching the rain, being with someone and talking to them, etc.
    In fact it might be possible to say that happiness is really unrelated to what you do, but rather how you feel about doing it. I notice I can feel a bit down when doing the exact same things I do when I feel content.
    And yeah happiness can be on a big scale or small scale, but I think most people have the capacity to find joy unless there is a big problem or issue dragging them down on a daily basis.. That's usually the source of a depression then..
    I am content most days sometimes by being productive and creative, and other days by not doing anything at all just relaxing in the sun or even sleeping in the middle of the day or petting my dog. I mean it's complicated in some ways.
  25. Jul 22, 2009 #24
    Because it leaves you on a hamster wheel in a never-ending cycle.

    Feel free to set goals and achieve them, by all means. But don't let your goals and/or accomplishments define your inherent worth as a person, or your happiness. (Take this from an experimentalist who already tried this approach :shy: )
  26. Jul 22, 2009 #25


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    Perhaps a better way of phrasing it might be "the pursuit of happiness".
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