I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness. After all, that’s what we are all supposed to be pursuing, isn’t it? But what is happiness? Perhaps the formula for it is in the words below:
“Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other.”
As everyone knows, the quote above comes from The Serenity Prayer.
“The wisdom to know the one from the other”. So much is conveyed in those few words. How often do we allow ourselves to become frustrated and unhappy because we don’t have that wisdom?
Happiness, for many, is ascending the rungs of the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs . I personally think self-actualisation goes beyond mere happiness, and is more about being in tune with the universe. But ‘self-actualisation’ means different things to different people.
And then, there’s Karma:
“The self-controlled person, moving among objects, with his senses free from attachment and malevolence and brought under his own control, attains tranquility.”
Recently, Austrian Karl Rabeder gave away his seven million dollar fortune, because he said it was making him unhappy. While many of us are unhappy because we think we don’t have enough money, he has decided that money is the cause of his unhappiness, and therefore, decided to give it all away.
In his pursuit of happiness, he has the found “the courage to change that which can be changed”. But it took him several years before he acted on it, as he admitted he was not “brave” enough to give up all the trappings of his comfortable existence instantly.
Then for him, money is not a requirement for attaining the self-actualisation layer of Maslow’s hierarchy. Indeed, for the man who plans to give his millions away, it is an impediment. But it remains to be seen whether he attains his goal of happiness.
And then, there’s the fellow in the video below. He knows only too well the difference between that which can be changed and that which cannot. And he says he is “happy”.
So, there we have it. One man who most would think had nothing, but who says he is happy, and another who says he won’t be happy until he has nothing. But just as self-actualisation is defined differently to different people, so is the definition of ‘nothing.’
Hmmm. Maybe I need to think about that one some more.
Last 5 posts by Con Carlyon
- Murdoch, Einstein and Me - October 19th, 2011
- The People on the Banks - March 15th, 2011
- My Backyard - March 15th, 2011
- Truth - December 17th, 2010
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being a Dickhead - March 4th, 2010