During my life I have had the opportunity to travel to parts of Africa and Asia. Compared to we in the West the people I met had nothing. And yet, so often, they were happier than most people I know. The idea that the good life does not guarantee a happy life should be fairly self-evident.
The common thread that ran through all the places I visited was community. These “poor” people were surrounded by family, neighbors and culture that could support them. I think this can be a significant factor in a happy life. We in the West are often disconnected from community. We move away from family. We don’t take vacations. We put all of our efforts into climbing a career ladder, leaving little time for friends, family or even rest. And then, should we become successful, we don’t understand why this hasn’t brought us happiness.
Community can certainly be stifling but it can also be nurturing and provide support for making it over the rough spots in our lives.