The Pursuit of Happiness

In my view, it is the essence of what it means to be an American.  The pursuit of happiness can mean as many things as there are people in the world.  At its core it means the freedom to choose….and that’s where the trouble begins.

Every one finds their happiness in a different place….and that means my form of happiness is going to be different than yours, yours different than mine, and theirs different than ours.

The Happy Life – Magic Word

And so when pondering the success or failure of a life, the question one has to ask is not about the size of the bank account, family, list of accomplishments, or list of friends necessarily.  But rather the question on the table is the degree to which one lived…

…the Happy Life.

And that is a tricky calculation because, as I mentioned before, what constitutes happiness is as unique to an individual as a fingerprint.  And if that’s true then how do we know?  How do we know if our friends and family are truly happy?  I think the answer is…

…we don’t.

And if we can’t actually know if our friends and family are happy then they can’t know that about us either.  We can ask them.  They can ask us.

“Are you happy?”

Go ahead and ask that question of a friend or family member and then let me know if you think you got an honest answer.  I mean a REALLY honest answer.  I’m guessing you won’t get a fully transparent answer, the raw truth of the matter.

So what are we to do if we are interested in making this a happier world…a world in which you can’t get an honest answer about who is happy and who  is not?  I say…

…pursue it.

Pursue it in our own lives because no one else can or will pursue it for us.  Even if they could they wouldn’t know how.  Only we know what makes us truly happy.  So if you want to make the world a happier place…

….then be happier.

It’s your “unalienable right”.  In this country we hold this “truth to be self evident”.  In the end that’s all you really have available to you.  It’s your right and you should exercise it.  Exercise it for your sake and the sake of all the folks in your life who want to know…

…”Are you happy?”

 

KenCatmull.com

 

 

6 Replies to “The Pursuit of Happiness”

  1. Thomas Jefferson penned those words about an inalienable right to pursue happiness before the self governed wrote a constitution with laws governing conduct. I have no doubt you agree with me that one should not shoot a neighbor or rob a bank even if it makes you happy.

  2. WOW, what a question. At this time in my life, I can truly say that I am a happy person.

    Sad sometimes, angry sometimes, upset sometimes yes to all, but that doesn’t take away from my being a usual happy person.

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