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Tony Dunne

Independent Business Owner, ACN Pacific,

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Why do people who have many advantages in life struggle with ongoing happiness whilst others with far less to be happy about are happier?

Its common for people with many advantages, physical, mental, environmental, family etc to be unhappy and depressed.

On the other hand people with the exact opposite are often far more happy in themselves, with their lives and about the future.

I personally know a blind person, one of my very best friends who lost his sight at age 16. Now at age 24 he is the happiest guy you would ever meet, very optimistic and positive and he believes his blindness is a gift that has helped him develop other parts of himself that he may never have even been aware of.

Clearly our view of the world has a profound impact on our outlook in life but thats the confusing part. If you have a great upbringing and many of the trappings of "a great life", then how do the people with those advantages of birth and environment continue to fall short in their overall happiness yet the people with severe obstacles are often the happiest.

We can assume that the things we all focus on and value the most are what gives us our sense of self. Is the answer as simple as the quality of our values and beliefs are the driving force behind our happiness?

Would people benefit from living as say a blind person for a 3 month term so as to develop other more enduring drivers to happiness?


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    Aug 14 2012: In his wonderful book "Flow," Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, quotes Viktor Frankel, "…happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue… as the unintended side-effect of one's personal dedication to a course greater than oneself."

    Professor Csikszentmihaly adds, "So how do we reach this elusive goal…it…begins with achieving control over the contents of our consciousness."

    He later writes, "The best moments usually occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience (happiness?) is thus something that we 'make' happen.

    Professor Csikszentmihaly adds, “For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves. Such experiences are not necessarily pleasant when they occur.”

    I humbly add, happiness is fleeting, temporary, replicable. Attaining happiness requires effort. Think of a teacher, chef, carpenter, care-taker, musician, athlete, scientist, etc. Worthwhile performance, life endeavor, requires enormous effort, dedication, persistence. Thus, when happiness occurs, I relish it. Revel in it. Bask in it’s glow. Then it’s back to work.


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