It is Friday now and for most us it is the end of work week. Here in Finland it is also clear that summer is over. Fall is time for transformation and it is a good time to sum up the results and achievements. It is a good time to sum up the results. As I am the researcher I know that before starting the discussion the concepts need to be defined. 🙂 So what is happiness?
”Happiness means that you have a chance to make a difference” – Bill O´Brien.
Happiness is a fuzzy concept, which means mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy, states Wikipedia. It is about living a good life.
A few international organizations measure happiness regularly, globally (Gallup and World Values Survey Association) and they have data from almost every country in a world. According to their studies typically in poor countries people are less happy than in rich ones. But what is great is that satisfaction of your life does not change a whole lot over time. There is no close relationship between rising GDP and increasing happiness either.
The bottomline is that based on the WVSA the income level for happy life is a 15 000-20 000 dollars per person per year. Above this level relationships with your family, friends and trust in other people matter the most. But the concept of happiness is full of biases as Daniel Kahneman presents. There are three aspects: 1. Reluctance to admit complexity 2. Confusion between experience and memory 3. Focusing illusion. Watch the whole video here.
Happiness does not mean life without difficulties or challenges. Typically when people get really intensely committed and engaged to their work, they are usually willing to confront difficult issues. High engagement at work means willingness to go beyond your comfort zone and willingness to fail. Sometimes this means also pain, sweat and tears.
In those moments when everything is uncertain, happiness can be a feeling that everything is possible. It can be a general feeling that life is headed to the right direction. In those moments it is crucial to be able to feel free to choose between things. Bill O´Brien has said that happiness means that you have a chance to make a difference. It is those weard things that you can´t control. If you work and pursue to become happy, you typically become unhappy. If we live by doing things, which matter most to us, together with people we respect and love, we are usually happy. Watch this inspiring video from Alan Watts. Life is not a journey, it is right here and right now.
I wrote this post, because I am just about to start doing the work I love. The work that has also caused me an enormous amount of tears and pain. It is how you become an expert.