Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, suggested that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are our inalienable rights.
Life and liberty can be understood in many ways with our life within the United States and other free countries but Jefferson was smart enough to make it the pursuit of happiness and not the right to happiness.
Daniel Nettle, a psychologist from England, suggests that there are three levels of happiness:
Level 1 – happiness of momentary feelings, such as a good movie, a good game of tennis or spending time with good friends and family. This type of happiness is immediate but transient in nature.
Level 2 – this level is more cognitive. Judgements about feelings are involved. If you seem satisfied with your life after reflecting on your pleasures and pains and feel that your balance is on the positive side, then you have reached level 2.
Level 3 – you reach level 3 when you feel like you are flourishing and fulfilling your life’s potential. This is living the highest quality of life.
Clearly one has to realize that a high quality life if not synonymous with simply making a lot of money. But as a realist, one has to realize that money does matter but not necessarily in the same way you might think. Money doesn’t change you, it just magnifies you. You are who you are because of the choices you make, not necessarily the amount of money you have.
Mark Skousen, a wise investment journalist, suggests that there are four elements of happiness:
1. Rewarding and honest employment
3. Love and friendship
4. Spiritual development
Interestingly enough, each one of these does not require money.
Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, suggested that we look for happiness in all the wrong places. We go after pleasure, excitement and money and these things are enjoyable but he says that they do not create lasting satisfaction as they are not what matters the most.
Aristotle does suggest that what matters the most is realizing your potential, following your conscience and living up to your values. He feels that these things allow you the good life. These things are what creates the “The Good Life”.
Many of us are going to fall short of these but it is better to fail at what is worth tackling than to succeed at what is not.
Norman Schwartzkopf, the famous general said: “The truth of the matter is you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it”.
Do you know where you conscience is leading you? Where do you stand on your own path to success? Are you there or are you on the right path?
“Believe in Yourself – The Shortest Route to Success!!