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José Carlos Pons

WWF Mexico

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Wouldn't happiness bring about professional and personal stagnation?

I have not met a human being who does not want to be happy. However, following the argument brought forward by Shawn Anchor, unhappiness is the main driver for continuous personal and professional development, i.e. we are never satisfied with what we have.
In this scenario, would't happiness bring about professional and personal stagnation.


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    Aug 5 2012: I think that the most important distinction to make concerning this topic is between "happiness" and "satisfaction". One can, in my opinion (and I hope I'm not alone), be pleased with themselves and derive happiness and positive feelings from something that, simply because it was not the pinnacle of their self-perceived ability, they feel can be improved upon. An example that comes to mind is testing in schools. If I receive a 93% on a test, I am almost always happy with the score itself; however, I may not be content because I feel I could have scored higher. In this sense, I am happy with what I have achieved yet not completely satisfied, and thus look for future improvement. In other words, happiness can be found in something that is not total perfection. In many cases (at least with myself), I think that it is this feeling of joy at having succeeded mixed with knowing that I can do better that really drives me to keep improving at what I do.
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      Aug 5 2012: I agree. However, It is a fine line that separates happiness and satisfaction. An important part of the massage here conveyed is that we must be able to recognize that dissatisfaction is not equal to unhappiness. Moreover, we tend to focus on the factors that bring dissatisfaction, rather than those that bring satisfaction. It is customary to hear about the "bad" situations people go though on a regular day, rather than the "good" ones.
      I understand this bad-focusing systematic approach, as an evolutionary response. In a way that we emphasize bad experiences, as a necessary tool to survive in an constantly changing environment.
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        Aug 5 2012: The thought that "dissatisfaction is not equal to unhappiness" is exactly what I was trying to express (in so many words), but I feel that one cannot truly be driven by dissatisfaction until that person has, at least, tasted what they feel to be a degree of satisfaction and, in turn, found happiness in that. To bring it full circle and address the final sentence of the original post, I think that it is the varying degrees and different experiences of happiness, and not necessarily only the lack there of, that drives personal and professional progress/change and not "stagnation".
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          Aug 5 2012: This also has to do with time management and efficiency.

          I can spend maybe 2 hours of studying to get that 93%, but it may take me another 4 hours to try and get that 100%. If you ask me, 4 hours to get only an extra 7% is very inefficient with my time and would give me diminishing returns. I could use that 4 hours for more productive or more valuable things in my life. So then the real question here would be, is it necessary to get 100%?

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