#14 Aug 2013 – Seeking Happiness

Dancing Buddhas

Seeking Happiness

Change your Focus

All human beings seek happiness.  Unfortunately, those of us that don’t need to worry about meeting the basic needs of life have been misled that happiness lies in the illusion of materialism. Even those people who have ‘arrived’ eventually realise that even unlimited wealth doesn’t make them happy for long.  At some point the promised dream fades, leading to disappointment and even depression. According to the World Health Organization, depression will be the world’s leading cause of death by the year 2020.

Interestingly, Sonja Lyubomirsky, psychology professor at the University of California, states that when we are born, up to 50% of our DNA is attributed to our ability to be happy.  No two babies born are the same, but according to her, the total capacity for happiness that we are born with is unchangeable. 10% of our happiness quotient is based upon our life circumstances and material gain.  However, 40% is based upon how we think, what we do, our intentions and strategies.

So why focus and struggle attaining just the 10%? The 40% can be fulfilled through altruistic activities, gratitude, visualisations of a positive future and reliving memories of happy moments from the past (tea meditation!).

If her theory is true, perhaps it can describe why depression is so high, with so many people spending so much time focused on that 10% – but it also gives an opportunity for people to turn themselves around by retuning themselves towards 40% type activities.

Many of you may have already experienced achieving a materialistic goal but found it does not necessarily translate into having a happier life, at least not permanently. As time passes by, new acquisitions, of the same kind, just more expensive, quickly replace objects and dreams that were once our ultimate goals. On the other hand, for me, developing better goals, particularly meaningful relationships, makes me feel better, and more useful – then happiness comes to stay.

With love always,

(and the ACI Singapore team)

P.S.  For more details on the research go to http://sonjalyubomirsky.com/


A Final Thought


“Seven Deadly SinsWealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Knowledge without character
Politics without principle
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice.”
Mahatma Gandhi

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