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Thread: Happiness, is too much of it bad?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Happiness, is too much of it bad?

    What is happiness to you and how do, or can, you achieve it? As I drove into work parts of the book I was reading last night lingered. The book was about overcoming adversity but there was one line that really stood out. “Perpetual happiness is hell.”

    It caught me off guard because happiness is something that we are told to pursue. Heck, it even says so in the Declaration of Independence. But then I realized something. It is not the obtaining of happiness that is our right… it is the pursuit of it.

    Over the past few years, I have been reading all sorts of stories of successful people and one common theme isn’t that they were happy, but it is that they were able to overcome some serious setbacks in their lives to achieve something so much greater. Take Steve Jobs for example, he was kicked out of the company he created, learned all sorts of stuff, and came back even greater. George Washington was an up and rising star but was never able to get a commission in the British Military… so he learned from it and helped fee the US from British control. Albert Einstein had tones of challenges growing up when it came to academics. Here is a whole list of people who failed in their pursuit of happiness only to learn from it and come back even stronger. (LINK)

    Then I think of people who I know that had the dream life growing up. One guy for example, his parents were way upper income, he always had the newest nicest of everything, and more or less, had everything handed to him. From what I hear, he now works at a grocery store stocking shelves. He had no ambition to do anything, so he didn’t. No college degree, no marriage, and the only reason he does what he does is because is parents required him to have a job or they would cut off funding his lifestyle.

    On a similar note, some security experts say that people seem to be the most vulnerable when they are happy. People are easy targets when they are on vacation or when they are at their happiness because their guard is down.

    So all this goes back to the original question, is too much happiness bad? Do we need those unhappy times to fuel us to achieve more than what we have at the moment? What are your thoughts?
    If you want different results in your life, you need to do different things than you have done in the past. Change is that simple.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    What is happiness to you and how do, or can, you achieve it? As I drove into work parts of the book I was reading last night lingered. The book was about overcoming adversity but there was one line that really stood out. “Perpetual happiness is hell.”

    It caught me off guard because happiness is something that we are told to pursue. Heck, it even says so in the Declaration of Independence. But then I realized something. It is not the obtaining of happiness that is our right… it is the pursuit of it.

    Over the past few years, I have been reading all sorts of stories of successful people and one common theme isn’t that they were happy, but it is that they were able to overcome some serious setbacks in their lives to achieve something so much greater. Take Steve Jobs for example, he was kicked out of the company he created, learned all sorts of stuff, and came back even greater. George Washington was an up and rising star but was never able to get a commission in the British Military… so he learned from it and helped fee the US from British control. Albert Einstein had tones of challenges growing up when it came to academics. Here is a whole list of people who failed in their pursuit of happiness only to learn from it and come back even stronger. (LINK)

    Then I think of people who I know that had the dream life growing up. One guy for example, his parents were way upper income, he always had the newest nicest of everything, and more or less, had everything handed to him. From what I hear, he now works at a grocery store stocking shelves. He had no ambition to do anything, so he didn’t. No college degree, no marriage, and the only reason he does what he does is because is parents required him to have a job or they would cut off funding his lifestyle.

    On a similar note, some security experts say that people seem to be the most vulnerable when they are happy. People are easy targets when they are on vacation or when they are at their happiness because their guard is down.

    So all this goes back to the original question, is too much happiness bad? Do we need those unhappy times to fuel us to achieve more than what we have at the moment? What are your thoughts?
    Happiness doesn't come from a lack of adversity, but rather is a character trait that helps people survive the good times and bad. My brother's girlfriend is one of the happiest and most positive people I know. She is a joy to be around. Yet, she lost her husband and son in a car accident. Her nature does not allow her to wallow in the grief and loss. She was able to move on and live her life changed but not broken.

    Me, on the other hand, I could use a lot more happiness. My happiness well is sucking sand lately.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  3. #3
    This reminds of the first Matrix movie. The first world the machines created was were everyone was happy. That construct failed, so they had to build a second one were they was death and suffering.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  4. #4
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    As inner states go happiness is a fairly extreme thing. Probably better to aim for achieving mere contentment.

    Happiness escapes me.... not because of any set of external circumstances in life but because of the lack of serotonin floating around my brain. I could win the freakin' lottery and would likely still suffer a severe bout of depression a few months later.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  5. #5
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I find happiness kind of a nebulous thing. I'm generally happy in life, but not 24/7 smile on my face kind of happy. If I'm doing something that I want to do than I'm happy. That could be fixing up the house, working on my code update, or watching funny TV. It was my choice to work on it and I'm happy. If you force me to do something I'm not as happy. Code enforcement, not happy. Nothing good on TV, not sad, angry, or depressed, just not happy. I'm also the kind of guy that scoffs at the "You have to do work that makes you happy." idea. If it was fun, they wouldn't call it work. Which I know is the point, but my fun is sitting around smoking cigars and playing video games. Not much income in that bit of fun. A side point, fun is not happiness. Fun is engaging in an activity of momentary joy. Happiness is a broader thing.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  6. #6

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    My Mom had an interview yesterday and the interview panel told her she has a glass is half full attitude and is excessively happy. It is surprising to me that a positive attitude is a problem.

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