Thursday, August 23, 2007

More on happiness


Sometime back I made a post titled "Happiness sale and other things". I got a comment from my friend Sumit on this post. It seems there are many people who are questioning their own definition of happiness. In my opinion its our entire generation. Some may come forward and agree to it. Some, choose to ignore, push it under the carpet, come to terms or simply give up.

Happiness as we all would agree is relative. What can make me happy may not make you happy. So what is the difference between you and me that makes us happy by different things. In my humble opinion, the answer is Maslow's hierarchy of needs .

A person will be happy because of an event depending on where he is in the Maslow's hierarchy of needs. A hungry person will be happy if he gets food, a jobless person will be happy to get a secured job. We need to identify our position in the pyramid and strive for what we don't have. The achievement of that will definitely make us happy.

In my opinion what we are trying to do is gather things that we have already achieved from the bottom of pyramid. For example, we have clothing, but we buy more and more of it. The marginal happiness we gain out of buying clothes has gone down substantially. The purchasing power of our generation has gone up substantially. So now, buying anything cannot make us happy any more. We have passed that portion of the pyramid.

Where we are currently, in my opinion, is the top two portions. We need to be acting on Esteem and Self-actualisation. Morality, integrity, confidence, achievement are some of the things we should be looking at. Being an ethical citizen, solving bigger problems for the society/country, striving towards a un-corrupt society are some of the things our generation should take up. This will definitely give us happiness. More than what Happiness Sale upto 50% off can give us.

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