Pablo Pereira Concha
LDS Business College
The Pursuit for Happiness Aristotle, the great philosopher, once said: “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” When asked about what they really want in life, most people include the word happiness on the list. Today happiness is viewed in many different ways. Everyone defines happiness according to their personal perspective. Whatever it is that makes you happy is determined by you, and only you. This difference is what makes the world interesting. Like everything else in life, happiness is most commonly discussed in three different aspects of life, personal, professional, and spiritual. There are several simple things can be done to increase happiness in each aspect of life. Even though different goals and actions are set for each aspect, analyzing them make us conclude that somehow they can connect and affect each other. Analyzing them makes us also conclude that if there’s one aspect that can affect all the others, that would be the spiritual.
We live in a world that is progressing at such a fast pace that sometimes we wonder if we can catch up. But yet, when it comes to understanding ourselves and our surroundings, we seem to be trapped in the shallow. Being trapped in the shallow can create a sense that something is missing, an inner hole. We search and search for filling up that empty spot inside but it does not seem to work, or it may work for a short time but the sensation of emptiness resurfaces. We search for happiness but sometimes wonder if we know what it means.
Defining happiness can seem as elusive as achieving it. We want to be happy, and we can say whether we are or not, but can it really be defined? Psychologist Ed Diener, author of Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, describes what psychologists call “subjective well-being” as a “combination of life satisfaction and having more positive emotions than negative emotions.” (Diener, E. (2008). Happiness Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth. New York: John Wiley & Sons.). If happiness –or “subjective well-being”- are more positive emotions than negative, the quest is to now identify what situations in life gives us positive and negative emotions. In order to determine the emotions we feel, we need to learn who we are, what our needs are, what we desire in life, what makes us grow, and what strengths and limitations we have. Once we have this knowledge we can have a sense of purpose and direction. Once we have a purpose and direction, our emotions are all based on whether we fulfill our purpose and move on the right direction or not.
The article Does Finding a Purpose in Life Help You Over Come Depression? states: “One of the hallmarks of depression is loss of motivation to do anything because you feel that your life is meaningless. You are meaningless, empty, worthless, bad, nothing but a burden. There’s no sense of future, no purpose to give you hope and help pull you back to an active life.” (Folk-Williams, J. (n.d.). Does Finding a Purpose in Life Help You Over Come Depression?). Not having direction and purpose in life are the key ingredients for unhappiness in every aspect of life.
I grew up in a very religious family. I was raised being taught what my purpose in life was and the direction I should take my life. Having that kind of knowledge as a child and also a teenager helped me to find happiness and progression in those years, but as I matured and started the “Know it all” stage of life, things started to change. At around 17 years of age I started questioning my beliefs, and that led me to start questioning my purpose in life. Up to that point, I had been taught in what to believe, I had been taught and told about what my purpose in life should be, but they weren’t what I had thoughtfully chosen for my life. I decided then to