Can You Define Happiness?
Happiness is extremely personal experience. But still it’s the most universal of all human pursuits. So with that in my I set off on a mission to define happiness.
To help me define happiness I enrolled the help of Rock Stars, philosophers, authors, and friends. I knew that to define happiness would be a tough job so the more perspective I could have on the subject the better.
The rocker David Lee Roth said that money didn’t define happiness. But he did admit that it sure made life a lot easier. “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, the best selling author of Eat Pray Love would define happiness as personal effort. She wrote that, “People tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will descend like fine weather if you’re fortunate. But happiness is a result of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly.”
The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh believed that to define happiness you would have to base your measurement on personal freedom. He said, “The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom you have in your heart.”
Aristotle would define happiness as, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
The Dalai Lama would define happiness as, “The purpose of life.”
Princeton University would define happiness as, “A state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.”
Wikipedia would define happiness as, “Happiness is a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy.”
A poetic way to define happiness could be summed up by Nathaniel Hawthorne when he said, “Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
Gandhi would define happiness as alignment. He said that, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Dale Carnegie, the author of How To Win Friends and Influence People, would define happiness as internal mental process, “Remember, happiness doesn’t depend on who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think.”
Happiness can be defined as action. Or moving toward a goal that we’ve set for ourselves. That’s what Benjamin Disraeli thought when he said, “Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary would define happiness as, “A state of well-being and contentment. A pleasurable or satisfying experience.” Also in their definition they included good fortune and prosperity as contributing factors to one personal state of happiness.
I asked the members of Happiness on facebook to define happiness and Julie was in agreement with Gandhi and would define happiness as, “Happiness=body-mind-spirit alignment.”
And Keith would define happiness as, “Complete enlightenment and true authentic power.”
Sandra would define happiness as, “‘Happy in my own skin’ and being of service.”
And Johanna’s own way to define happiness would be, “I am in bliss spending time with my family & close friends & in nirvana while scuba diving or doing photography.”
So taking a look at all these perspectives on happiness I think that maybe the best way to define happiness is to let your own personal happiness define you.