Recently, I was listening to a very interesting Art of Charm episode which posed a very interesting point. The point came from an interesting experiment that was conducted by Raj Raghunathan author of If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? He asked thousands of people the typical genie question; “if you found a genie and were granted 3 wishes, what would you wish for?” and he found that only 6% of people asked for happiness from this all powerful genie.
This raises a fundamentally interesting point. We always seem to be pursuing our own happiness it is often the driving force behind our life choices, and yet when we have the perfect opportunity to obtain it, we would rather ask for the things that we think will make us happy, rather than happiness itself.
A significant aspect of this could be due to the fact that happiness is an intangible concept, it’s relative and can often be different for everyone. However, in any research or surveys conducted whereby happiness is stated as an option for desired goals, it will almost always show up in the top three results. It would appear then that we often forget about our desire for happiness when going about our day to day lives – but on a subconscious level it is most certainly there.
So instead of actively pursuing happiness, we trade our resources (time, energy etc) for the things that we think will make us happy. For example, we will often work jobs that we do not necessarily enjoy and do not fulfil us, in exchange for the promise of more money. We do this because, by having more money we are able to do more of the things that we want which in turn will make us happier. However we then start chasing the money rather than the actual happiness. Certainly, as happiness is relative, we can always be a little more happy. Our solution? More stuff, more holidays, more, more and more. And if we want more, then we need more money. And so we work harder, longer hours for the promise of more. Quickly we have forgotten about why we started pursuing the money in the first place.
So stop, and think; what are you really pursuing? If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?
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