In his work Nicomachean Ethics written in 350 RC. Greek philosopher Aristotle claimed that happiness is the only thing that humans desire for its own sake. People seek riches, not for the sake of being rich, but to be happy. Likewise, individuals desire fame, not for the sake of being famous, but because they believe fame will bring them happiness. According to Aristotle, the highest good for us is happiness, and that is why we desire and seek it. As an experience and a subject, happiness has been pursued and commented on extensively since the dawn of history. This reflects the universal importance that humans have placed, and still place, on happiness.
Of course, spiritual leaders, philosophers, psychologists, and economists have different notions on the nature of happiness and how to attain it.
One thing is certain: If you are to be happy and awaken to the beauty of the world around you, you must put your life in synch with your deepest values and beliefs.
You must pursue what you truly want out of life and not what others want you to pursue.
This is not an easy thing to do, particularly in modern Western society, where we are subject to so many outside influences.
For instance, it is all too easy to get too intoxicated with the dream of what conventional success is going to do for your happiness.
Yet conventional success and happiness are two entirely different things.
Conventional success - a big house, a beach cabin, two or three fancy cars, an extremely attractive spouse, and a high-powered job - hardly serves any other purpose than to make life extremely difficult for most people.
Erich Fromm in his book Escape from Freedom wrote, "Modern man lives under the illusion that he knows what he wants, while he actually wants what he is supposed to want."
Indeed, in today's consumer society advertisers and the media dictate what people are supposed to want.
Many people consume this programming greedily instead of stopping to question what will truly make them happy.
After all, it is much easier to try to fit in with the majority than to question what the majority is doing.
Yet following the majority as they look for happiness in all the wrong places is insane.
Understand that happiness doesn't care how you get there.
It doesn't care how hard you work.
Nor does it care whether you wear designer clothes or how fancy your car is or how many possessions you have.
Moreover, happiness doesn’t care how beautiful, talented, or intelligent you are.
Perhaps by now you are thinking that these are just crazy assumptions.
On the contrary, there is much scholarly evidence to support these statements.
Research by psychologists indicates that the things that most people assume would make life better - money, fame, status, beauty, or social prominence over the long run don't seem to matter all that much, if at all.
For example, one research paper reported that physical attractiveness has almost a very marginal effect on how content people are in life.
Another study concluded individuals may be pleased for a month or two after a big lottery win, but there is no relationship between the money and ultimate happiness a year later.
Still other research has shown that social standing, age, intelligence, and education have no effect on true happiness. ,
How happy you are depends on whether you are willing to be happy.
Happiness will elude you as long as you are thinking and doing what's wrong for you. And it will come easily when you are thinking and doing what's right for you.
Above all, ensure that you don't get conned into believing happiness is what someone else deerns it to be.
You can rest assured that you will never attain true happiness if you wait for destiny or others to show you the way.
Whether you are black or white, male or female, illiterate or highly educated, single or married, tall or short, or rich or poor, happiness leaves you in charge of whether you get there.
The Dalai Lama told us, "Happiness is not something ready-made that Buddha can give you. It comes from your own actions." Take his advice and run with it. It will be extremely valuable to you on your journey through life.