I won’t claim to be an expert on happiness – not even my own!
I do, however, respect the work of Martin Seligman (www.authentichappiness.com) and most of Dr. Bob Spitzer’s work (www.robertspitzer.org).
I recently encountered a quote or two by renowned motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, and found the comments helpful.
“Happiness is wanting what you DO have, not what you DON’T have [emphasis mine].”
I have found that the happiest people I have met, whether working in their field of dreams or not, are those who are generous. This is what I found interesting about Spitzer’s Levels of Happiness. His research found that those who aimed for Plato’s “5 Transcendentals” (Love, Peace, Justice, Beauty and Truth) as well as the joy of giving (“Good beyond Self”) always enjoyed a longer-lasting happiness than those who aimed at Ego satisfaction and/or immediate gratitfication.
So, Bill Gates knows what he’s doing. And perhaps the road to personal fulfilment is an off-shoot of team fulfilment…
The second Ziglar quote worth mentioning is: “Happiness is related to the depth of our gratitiude”.
While this is not an adage to live by, it is a reference-point, a brief intercept on our drive for “more.”
When is enough simply enough? What will we do when we reach it? What is the fruit of striving for endless success, rather than demystifying that noble aim, and calling it “contentment.” Perhaps what we seek is right before us. Perhaps our dreams are closer to fulfilment than we have recognised. And perhaps we can rest a while, cease from our striving, and be grateful. That we live. That our family does, too. That we have shelter,and food, or education to creatively source these.
And perhaps, even in this economy, we will have hope.