“Optimism with action creates wonderful results” Gary Vaynerchuk
As human beings, our desire is to be in a constant state of happiness and we spend most of our lives pursuing it. But how can we be focused on being happy unless we know where it comes from? And why does it seem like some sources happiness provide constant satisfaction, while others feel like fast food?
Founder of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman teaches three different categories (or sources) of happiness, each with its own level of satisfaction. Understanding the characteristics of each category will help you to look for happiness that will provide fulfillment instead of wasting your time.
The art of seeking maximum positive emotions while minimizing negative ones. This typically comes from appealing to our five sense and includes activities such as video games, watching movies, eating, sex, drugs, and music. While it feels good in the moment, pleasure inducing happiness is short lived and is the least likely source of long-term fulfillment.
Engagement typically comes from work or hobbies. Have you ever felt “in the zone” or seem to produce something that just “flows” out of you? When you are actively (and happily) doing something productive that makes time fly, you are experiencing happiness through engagement. At the end of the week it feels pretty good to be productive, but many mid-life crises have been caused by a life seeking happiness through engagement.
This comes from serving a cause you deeply identify with, whether it be family, community, country, or even an idea. In fact, research shows that people who volunteer are overall happier than those who don’t, and it is easy to see why. When you feel like you are adding value to something you really care about, it is always internally rewarding. At the end of your life, you won’t regret time spent finding happiness through meaning,
While we all define happiness in different ways, we can see it doesn’t come from being self-centered, from feeding the ego. It comes from a sense of wanting to leave a positive impact that will outlive you. Find something to do that uplifts you, that allows you to be in a state of ecstasy, and provides for the wellbeing of the ones you love. That is happiness.
Rogelio H. Charles