Posts tagged ‘happiness’

April 10, 2011

How to be successful – in life

by caroanna

Success. Career. Money.

Not trying to sound like an anti-capitalist hippie, this is what our society seems to focus on. By society, I mean Western society because that’s what I grew up in. We are judged often by where we work, how much we earn, what we’ve accomplished materially.

Material success is desired, admired and envied.

Where did this come from? After all, human beings were born to survive, procreate and be with each other. How come we’ve put money before more admirable values like friendship, family and happiness?

Of course, not everyone thinks like that. We still cherish our family and know how important it is to spend time relaxing and talking with friends. But that is not what is admired. We don’t go up to other people and say, “Wow, you really like what you do! I envy that!” Instead, we would say, “Wow, you earn six-digits!” and “You’ve just been promoted! Good for you!”

I’ve recently decided to distance myself from this attitude. Who cares how much I earn or what position I have? No one else than me, because I’m the one who has to do the work. If management or finances was what people love, then they should pursue that to be happy.

But doing a job because it has prestige or makes you wealthy is not worth it.

After all, we spent most of our day working or commuting to work. Why wouldn’t we want to do something we truly enjoy? For more money, so we can spend it on things that won’t make up for a crappy job or a stressful life? Re-evaluate what is really important to you. If it’s difficult, ask yourself: When I’m lying on my deathbed and look back on my life, did I enjoy it and accomplish something I really cared about? Or had I rather done something else? If you’d rather done something else, it’s not too late. Do it now and enjoy what you have.

“A man can spend his whole life never learning the simple lesson that he has only one life and that if he fails to do what he wants with it, nobody else really cares.” (Louis Auchincloss)

April 3, 2011

Like your iPhone? It won’t make you happier.

by caroanna

I’m hooked on nature.

Not in the sense that I’m addicted to it in a negative way, but I love having living plants around me and walking around trees and grass. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in a tent or a little cottage in the woods (I was born and grew up in cities), but there’s a deep desire in me to be out exploring what nature has to offer and breathing some fresh air.

And I think everyone has that desire to some extent because we were born into and evolved in nature for so many years, before we distanced ourselves from it so quickly. But some people decide to ignore that desire.


Living in an artificial world

The more advanced technology we got, the more we got sucked into a world we’re not made for. If you look back on how humans have lived in the past thousand years, you’d never thought we would sit in our safe houses, look at a screen, or several, for hours and wash the outside dirt from our clothes as soon as it’s there.

Sure, we’ve evolved before and we’ll perhaps be able to adjust to our new, self-made circumstances. But that is not done in a few years. Until then, we’ll get less and less human and more and more stupid or alienated. Too harsh? Maybe. I’m not advocating a radical turn away from civilization. I’m in favor of technical progress. But what I favor even more is life itself and what we make of it.

What makes us happier?

No technology or clean environment will make us happier and feel more human than seeing the wide ocean in front of us or looking at the skyline of a mountain range.

If you don’t have those in your neighborhood (neither do I), try going to the next meadow or park and observe how the tree moves in the wind. Watch the grass moving when you touch it with your hand. If there’s a pond, look at the little waves the water makes when you throw a stone into it. It’s worth taking that time out of your busy, busy day.