Happiness: It’s Really A Personal Thing
In a recent post, we explored happiness as being a person’s main motivation. And, that it can only be attained by acting in accordance with one’s values.
I then posed a few questions and received some excellent responses. I’d like to restate the questions here, and answer them per my own understanding.
1. How do we define happiness? One of my earlier mentors, Harry Browne, defined it as, “The mental feeling of well-being.” I agree, but take it just a bit further and say, “A genuine feeling of ongoing joy and peace of mind, the result of living in accordance with your values.”
The key in both definitions is an overall feeling rather than something temporary, though every decision we make in the moment is based on seeking happiness whether it be short or long-term. Which leads to the next question:
2. Is “a sense of” happiness different for different people? Absolutely! As Harry wrote in his wonderful book, The Secret of Selling Anything (which was as powerful a “life lesson” as it was a sales lesson), “Happiness is relative. People experience happiness in different ways. People place different values on different things. What brings happiness to one person is meaningless to another.”
This is why a big mistake leaders and salespeople make when desiring to influence others is to assume that what brings us happiness will necessarily bring them happiness. It is also why influence is always about them, not about us.
The final question was:
3. If one’s main motivation is happiness, then why do so many otherwise-intelligent people seem to make decisions that are obviously contrary to their happiness?
While I’ve never been a big fan of cliff-hangers, let’s discuss this one in the next post. Any additional thoughts based on the above?