How many kids have heard some form of this refrain over and over and over again until it was imprinted on their brains? A good number, and a good number of those go on to do exactly that.My father liked to tell me that I'd be pumping gas at a service station if I didn't get a good education. Since pumping gas has become almost ubiquitously self-serve, that's pretty funny in retrospect, but would pumping gas at a service station have been such a bad lot in life? Would I have been unhappy not graduating, making minimum wage, doing manual labor (if you can call pumping gas that)?
New studies in what is known as "positive psychology" show that being highly educated, wealthy or young really aren't the things that make people happy in life. From The Examining Room of Dr. Charles:
This is not to say that being educated, employed in a job that gives you esteem or having disposable income is a bad thing. Only that perhaps focusing more on bonded relationships, marriages, how we spend our time and what we give of ourselves would yield happier people.
[R]esearch on happiness, optimism, positive emotions and healthy character traits has been increasing in psychology. Some surprising results challenge our assumptions, such as the fact that once basic needs are met, money does not increase happiness. Neither do high education or high IQ. Older people tend to be happier than young.
The sunny weather in California and Florida does not make people happier than those living in colder and cloudier climes.
The trait most shared by happy people seems to be close connections with family and friends, bolstered by a commitment to spending time with them. Other factors that are associated with happiness include contributing to the lives of others, a good relationship with a spouse, control over one’s life and decisions, time for leisure, spirituality or religion, and the holiday periods.
Aristotle is said to have proclaimed, "happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence." If you believe that to be the case, what can you change today that will bring your more happiness tomorrow?[Photo by eflon]