That seems an almost ridiculous question. Of course you want to be happy! Our world is obsessed with wanting to be happy. But what do we actually mean by happiness? Especially in our complex, challenging and chaotic world where we have so many things that promise happiness, but often fail to deliver what they promise.
Do join Andrew Parnham and I as we continue to unpack this important subject from his book, "Lasting Happiness: In Search of Deeper Meaning and Fulfilment."
Together we explore:
- Health and wellbeing as a means to happiness, but those terms that are not as simple to explain as they might first appear.
- The World Health Organisation's definition of health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
- How health is a means to happiness, but not an end in itself. We need some higher purpose, especially as health is so often dependent on fate, fortune or luck.
- How wellbeing, while hard to define, is much wider and deeper when you consider it is possible to have wellbeing without apparent health. For a challenging and inspiring example of that do watch this 4 minute video of Nick Vujicic,a man born without arms or legs and an incredibly positive sense of wellbeing.
- How the research shows relationships, meaning and fulfilment are more lasting paths to happiness than health, wealth or pleasure seeking.
- Lessons from the longest study on happiness (a TED talk on that is here) that show how relationships are so fundamental to what it means to be a human being.
- The work of Jean Varnier, the founder of a community in France for people with learning disabilities, who powerfully articulates this:
"What is it to be a human being? Is it power? If it's power, then we would kill each other! You see, the wise and powerful lead us to ideologies, whereas the weak are in the dirt. They're not seeking power, they're seeking friendship. It's a message for all of us. It's about all of us."
- Understanding the importance of finding meaning to lead us to lasting happiness.
- How a happy person is similar to an animal, whereas meaningfulness is human and is all about expressing the self and thinking integratively about the past and future.
- Some practical implications for us as we seek to be happy in life
Our previous conversation is at Podcast #044: Lasting Happiness.
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