A great life starts with defining happiness for yourself

Happiness can be considered as the common item on most people’s wishlist for their lives. Surveys that are based on random samplings have shown that 90% of the population have “happiness” as one of the items in their answers to the common question “what do you want the most in your life?”. Unsurprisingly, many other items that are also common include success in careers, wealth, status, etc.

What’s interesting is the seemingly coincidental connection between happiness and the other things that most people want to pursue, which is that many hold the concrete belief that happiness can only be achieved once they start to have good careers, and amass great wealth and fortune, and perhaps social and political popularity and status. Their view of this concept that we refer to as “happiness” is almost entirely constituted by external and materialistic factors, and is completely devoid of any tangible meanings.

That’s one way to define happiness, for certain percentage of the population, and just like anything else in life, there’s always another way to interpret things from a totally different perspective. This brings to another major belief of the concept “happiness”, and that is that happiness is the foundation, or a first step, to a great life.

Happiness and Physical Longevity

From the view of outsiders, there seem to be a direct cause-effect relationship between happiness and physical longevity of the local residents of Okinawa, an island south of the main land of Japan.

There are several factors that contribute to the longevity of most Okinawans. Local residents form communities which they have tight social collaborations and bondings that help everyone support each other. Much of the food sources are locally grown on the island by the residents, thus they are able to produce high quality produce without using pesticides and chemicals. Local communities also play crucial part in support the educations of the young and take care of the aged ones. In essence, it is a community that is self-sustainable not just on food sources and GDP, but also on the emotional well-beings of every individual. It is proven that is scientific evidence that connects the causality between the overall happiness level of Okinawans to their physical longevities.

Okinawan kids growing local crop at the age of 3

Happiness can be considered as the ultimate expression of oneself. A state in which he or she transcends beyond the tangibles in life and reach the level of self-actualization — understanding oneself to the fullest potential.

Happiness Pyramid

Just like everything else, one man’s meat may be another man’s poison. There’s no single universal definition of happiness. For myself as a starter, I started by journey of the pursuit of happiness by doing things that I love to do, express my gratitudes and return back by showing my compassions as much as I can.

The formula for happiness is not the same for everyone, but the good news is that the things we love to do are the building blocks of a happy life. Play, having new experiences, friends and family, doing things that are meaningful, appreciating what we have, these are the things that make us happy, and they are free.

And with happiness, the more you have, the more everyone has.

The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. YOU HAVE TO CATCH IT YOURSELF. — Benjamin Franklin
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