HR News and Views

HR News and Views

The Pursuit of Happiness

Monday, September 08, 2014

Happiness is something most people desire regardless of race, gender, income level or ability.  If ‘happiness’ or a guaranteed ’happy life’ were a commodity for sale the profits would be staggering.  The world seems obsessed with the concept of being happy.  According to a recent Gallup poll, happiness in America is on the rise as are sales of books with happiness in the title. 

In pursuit of happiness, many of us follow pathways that rely on forces that are not always in our control such as money, physical appearance, ease of life, material possessions, physical ability, opportunities and popularity. These are common goals many strive for in the belief they will lead to a happier life yet they are questionable in terms of their longevity and validity. After all, not every attractive millionaire is happy. Prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor Frankl spent years in a concentration camp and lost most of his family soon after he was freed; however according to him, “meaning” rather than the “pursuit of happiness” is what allows us to live our lives with purpose. And it is having meaning that allows us to build resilience despite what may be happening at the time. In his book, ‘Man's Search for Meaning’, he states:

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing - the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

Frankl’s message is that in order for it to be achievable and sustainable happiness must come from within us; and we each need to consider how we define and measure its presence in our lives: ‘happiness’ can be very different from one person to the next.

For example, one person may feel greater levels of happiness when things are going well with their key relationships, whereas another person may feel most happy when things are going really well at work. These different experiences of happiness are the result of what they represent or ‘mean’ to each person.

On an individual level finding meaning helps define what makes us happy and ‘choosing’ our attitude helps us take control of this desirable state and experience it more and more often.  

For more information on ON-Q’s happiness assessment for individuals and to measure engagement in the workplace, contact us today on 1800 761 561 or email and stay tuned for our upcoming workshop on The Pursuit of Happiness.



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