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The Cost of Happiness


Photo By E. Rachel Thompson

Happiness is a fascinating word. As much as we all crave it and want to be able to say that it is within our grasp, the journey to achieving it is a rarely discussed subject. It certainly is not a forbidden one nor does it provoke controversy or discomfort when brought up during a conversation. It would lead one to wonder what are the reasons that such a prized possession is a difficult topic of discussion for many.

According to Merriam-Webster, happiness is “a state of well-being and contentment or a pleasurable or satisfying experience”. However, if each one of us were to define her or his own meaning of happiness, there would be nearly as many answers as there were people. Perhaps happiness – our own as well as others – because it is so difficult to quantify, that may be precisely the reason why it eludes so many conversations.

It not only makes infrequent appearances in dialogue but it also is just about absent in the world of business. Happiness is never the number one goal of a business. Even in those where it would make the most sense. Therapists and counselors focus on getting to the heart of the matter but is their ultimate goal to help you find happiness? Even motivational speakers and life coaches, those for whom it would make complete sense to emphasize the “H” word, may mention it but tend to concentrate on other areas. And the reason may be the same as to why it escapes everyday discourse. It is too difficult to measure how successful your effort is.

As in all business, measuring progress is important. Resources and energy spent in areas that have no way of calculating gain are not conducive to a good business plan. Money, cash, income, these are all easily quantifiable and help us measure the amount of success. But no matter how much money is accumulated, it can ever buy happiness.

Many of you may be thinking, “Well it sure does make it easier” or some other slogan hoping to contradict this idea but that does not negate the first statement. Even if you had all the wealth of this world you still could not walk into a store and purchase happiness off the shelf. So how do we measure happiness especially if there is no way of determining whether or not someone else even has it? Does money make it easier to attain or perhaps even measure?

In next week’s post, I’ll cover why I believe there is so much emphasis on money rather than happiness and why for some, it can be more of a distraction. In the meantime, please feel free to put in the comments what your idea of happiness is. And not only your definition of happiness but how do you (or will you) know when you have it. Thanks as always to Rachel for the beautiful photograph. Please find out more information about her by clicking here.

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