Happiness Over Everything

As a human, we all have many natural instincts. These instincts could be divided in to instincts of survival, procreation, and worship. One of the most interesting instincts under survival that we have is desire for happiness. Our evolution has given us two meanings of happiness, and we constantly “work” hard to achieve these types of happiness.

According to the article, “Enjoyment as an Alternative to Materialism,” written by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, she states humans have “two contradictory motivations: pleasure, which is the well-being we feel when we eat, rest, and rocreate; and enjoyment, which is the exhilarating sensation we feel when going beyond requirements of survival”(Csikszentmihalyi1). Both of these traits reward us with happiness that we desire. However, pleasure is the happiness that does not last long, and individuals who seek pleasure as main reason for living are not going to grow beyond what the genes have programmed them to desire (Csikszentmihalyi2).

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Unlike pleasure, enjoyment is not always pleasant, and it can be very stressful at times (Csikszentmihalyi2), and this is why people don’t choose enjoyment over pleasure although enjoyment is the true and lasting happiness we can achieve. In order to achieve happiness, people need to learn how to enjoy little things, go beyond their limit, and achieve their meaningful goals. So why exactly do people choose pleasure over enjoyment? According to Csikszentmihalyi, pleasure is motivation that makes us look for material resources to improve the quality of life, and after all, these are scarce and everyone wants them (Csikszentmihalyil).

Pleasure is the satisfaction we get and achieved by very little amount of effort. On the other hand, enjoyment is not always pleasant, can be very stressful, requires more effort, and their rewards are often delayed (Csikszentmihalyi2). For example, a mountain climber may be close to freezing to death, exhausted, and in danger of falling down the mountain, but this climber would not be anywhere else. The rewards that this climber gets are possibly the achievement of climbing to the top and the enjoyment of the view.

And “at the moment it is experienced, enjoyment may be physically painful and mentally taxing, but because it involves a triumph over the forces of entropy and decay, it nourishes the spirit, and this builds memories that enrich lives in retrospect, and gives confidence for facing the future”(Csikszentmihalyi2). Happiness is achieved by going eyond us; yet, people try to achieve happiness without any effort. The reason why people are so attracted to pleasure is because we live in a society where we are married to work.

Since people are tired from work, they would rather choose pleasure, which requires less effort than any other enjoyable activities. In Csikszentmihalyi studies using the experiential sampling method, a person was happier when playing basketball or playing the piano than watching TV. However, this person spent 1 5 times as many hours watching TV than doing active leisure. Reason for this is because turning on a TV set, by contrast, is very easy and therefore ttractive when one feels tired (Csikszentmihalyi2). TV could also attract people who just wants a simple laughter overall.

Besides the happiness booster activities, what people work for, and what they do also attributes to their happiness. According to Csikzentmihalyi, “The issue is not so much what one does but how one does it”(Csikzentimihalyi3). If a person who has positive attitude towards what he does, than his daily routine Job will become a daily enjoyment. This type of person, who enjoys his Job, will always look forward to going into work for new challenges, and Just because he loves his Job. This kind of enthusiasm will transform boring work to an enjoyable experience. Finding enjoyment from any activity a person does is called flow.

This flow can be explained by people getting carried away by an outside force, of moving effortlessly with a current of energy, at the moments of highest enjoyment (Cskizentimihalyi3). For example, a surgeon describes why his Job is so enjoyable: “In good surgery everything you do is essential, every move is excellent and necessary; there is elegance, little blood loss, and a minimum of trauma. This is very pleasant, particularly when the group works together in a smooth and efficient anner” (Cskizentimihalyi3). Being a surgeon could be very boring, but this surgeon transforms his Job into a task that he enjoys.

It also seems like what he does in a surgery carries this surgeon away, and he appreciates little thing like the group that he works with. As a result, having positive enthusiasm towards and being completely involved in ones work will not only give them money, but also happiness. Unfortunately, not every Job has enough challenges or enough variety to provide the high level of enjoyment (Cskizentmihalyi3). People who cannot find enjoyment from heir daily routine than replace enjoyment outside of work or the pleasures provided by material experiences.

These people than tries “to build oneself with a help of material goals and material experiences leads to competitive striving for wealth, power, and seeking pleasure in various forms, such as passive leisure and consumer behavior (Cskizentimihalyi4). This is the miss perception of money buying happiness and a factor that is leading the society to become a consumer society. People tend to think that they will be happy and feel complete when they wear expensive clothes, drive expensive cars, and live in an expensive house.

Yet, this is only a short-term happiness, which is pleasure, and this could also lead people to be less happy. So how does money not buy happiness if it provides with a nice house, and survival needs? In the article, “Why Winning Powerball Won’t Make You Happy,” written by Susan Adams, researchers from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology interviewed Illinois State Lottery winners and found that the overall happiness levels of lottery winners spiked when they won, but returned to pre-winning levels after Just a few months (Adamsl).

Yes, a sudden wealth spike will lead to sudden happiness evel spike, but this does not mean it will forever change the sense of well-being. If a person who won a big lotto, but does not know how to spend and manage that money, it could lead to possibly spending almost all of the money or losing purpose in their life. Happiness from lotto is Just the pleasure we get when we have money that we never even thought of having. In order to be truly happy with all the money, one must spend it wisely and find another life goal.

For example, Sandra Hayes, a social worker who was making twenty-five thousand dollars a year had won the $224 million Powerball Jackpot. (Adams1). After winning the lottery, she bought a Lexus car, a half million-dollar house, and paid off her current home and gave it to her daughter and grandchildren She than quit ner Job and started writing and published a book. Instead of lying around and not knowing what to do with her money, she gave it away to her important people in her life, and made a brand new life goal, to write a book.

Hayes agrees that the win did not change the outlook on life and said, “Just because you win the lottery, it does not change you as a person”(Adams1). It is clear that while lottery win can make a difference, it can’t buy strong relationships in life, and ertainly don’t change who your siblings or parents are or the basic disposition one might have. As a result, searching for happiness in money is the cancer of a depressed society because people forget the real values of life.

Another reason for why money does not buy happiness could be shown in the happiness level between a wealthy country versus a poor country. “According to the World Happiness Report 2013,” by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Denmark was ranked as the happiest country, while United States ranked in 17th place (1). However, according to Global Finance, “The World’s Richest and Poorest Countries,” U. S. ranked in 7th richest country while Denmark was placed in the 20th. This shows that how being wealthy is not a factor to how happy people are in that country.

To really prove that money does not buy happiness, John Schumaker, the author of “The Happiness Conspiracy: What Does It Mean to Be Happy in a Modern Consumer Society? ” showed that Nigeria was found to be the world’s happiest country at the time he wrote his article. Nigeria, being one of the poorest countries was once ranked as the happiest country. According to John, in 1978, when he found himself stranded in a remote estern Tanzanian village, he saw real happiness for the first time and realized happiness has vastly more to do with cultural factors than genetics or the trendy notion of personal “choice”(Schumaker3).

People in these type of villages, where they have nothing but friends and family, where they have to walk miles to get water, values social connectedness, spirituality, simplicity, modesty of expectations, gratitude, patience, touch, music, movement, plan, and down time (Schumaker3). However, putting importance on these factors does not help economically; therefore, people who value money do not see the real but the simple happiness booster. There are many reasons why people try so hard to gain money and power, but one of the factors that influence us the most is the mainstream society.

Desire for happiness is everywhere and the mainstream uses happiness to improve their company’s wealth. In the article, “The Happiness Conspiracy: What Does It Mean to Be Happy in a Modern Consumer Society? ” written by John Schumaker, the author states that at every turn are “how-to” happiness books, articles, TV and radio programs, and etc. (Schumakerl). Since people look for happiness so much, personal happiness has became a big business and everyone is elling it (Schumakerl). If you search “happiness” in any online shopping website, you will get thousands results on how to be happy and so on.

It is well known that people love happiness, and the mainstream knows it well and uses it to target people to buy their products. Any car advertisements we see on TV tell us that if we buy their car, we will be happy. They show this by using actors to seem happy after driving their vehicle. A phone company tells us that we are not happy with our out dated phone; therefore, we need to upgrade it to their expensive phone with features that could be useful in our daily lives. However, purchasing things to make oneself satisfied does not lead to happiness as what people think.

This thought is Just an illusion that people see in a consumer society. Purchasing to upgrade from what one might already have, will lead to another upgrade in a short period of time. These routines will than make a person to be an impulsive consumer. One of the happiness blockers is materialism (Schumakerl), and certainly, the mainstream is dragging people to become dependent on materialism. Consuming habits not only blocks happiness, but it also leads to consumers become more depressed and anti-social.

Consumerism requires a wealth, which leads most of the people in America to pursuit wealth to obtain happiness. According to “Conmsumerism and its discontents,” written by Tori Deangelis, William Wordsworth in 1807 called “getting and spending” can promote “unhappiness because it takes time away from the things that can nurture happiness, including relationships with family and friends, research shows”(Deangelis1). When people organize their lives around material goals, they will than lose their relationship with people who should be considered the first priority.

However, the society we live in ith high demands of wealth is designed for people to Just be depressed. In order to feel fulfilled with life, and to enjoy our life, there are few things that we could do. Besides loving people whom we surround ourselves with, we can live by doing what we love to do. In 2005, Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, explains how to live a fulfilled life at his Stanford University commencement speech. Steve Jobs did not have a perfect life before he became well known and rich.

He had to earn the spot he was in before his death. He found what he liked to do and believed in his gut, destiny, life, and karma. In his speech, he said, mfou got to find what you love, your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you dd’00bs). Steve Jobs, one of the richest men, knew how to be truly happy before his own death. He did not Just create and invented Macintosh for himself, but for others.

He did not work so hard to be where his at Just for the money, but because he loved what he did. However, he wasn’t always happy. Obviously he had to climb up a tough ladder to be where he was at, but he was also diagnosed with cancer. This tells us that money can’t change our destiny, and we should learn from the fact that we all are going to face death, we Just don’t know when. Happiness is not bought, but it is earned. Happiness also never lasts forever, but once we know the true meaning of happiness, we will than learn how to cope with our sufferings.

This suffering than will become happiness. There is a Buddhist saying, “After happiness comes suffering, after suffering arises happiness,” and this could be interpreted in many different ways. To be wealthy in life, we must find happiness before anything else. Once we find happiness, than the wealth would appear with ittle bit of suffering. Adams, Susan. “Why Winning Powerball Won’t Make You Happy. ” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 28 NOV. 2012. web. 30 oct. 2013. Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. “Enjoyment as an Alternative to Materialism. The Aims of Argument: A Text and Reader. By Timothy W. Crusius and Carolyn E. Channell. 7th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2011. 361-67. print. DeAngelis, Tori. “Consumerism and Its Discontents. ” Http://wrww. apa. org. American Psychology Association, June 2004. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. Pasqual’, Valentina. “The World’s Richest and Poorest Countries I Global Finance. ” The World’s Richest and Poorest Countries I Global Finance. Global Finance, n. d. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. Schumaker, John F. The Happiness Conspiracy: What Does It Mean to Be Happy in a Modern Consumer Society? ” The Aims of Argument: A Text and Reader. By Timothy W. Crusius and Carolyn E. Channell. 7th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2011. 357-60. Print “Steve Jobs: How to Live before You Die. ” TED: Ideas worth Spreading. Ted, Oct. 2011. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. “Sustainable Development Solutions Network. ” Sustainable Development Solutions Network. UNSDNS, n. d. web. 30 oct. 2013. “The Four Noble Truths. ” The Four Noble Truths. N. p. , n. d. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.


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