Every living being wants to feel happiness and to avoid suffering
According to Buddhist philosophy every living being has but two driving motivations – to arrive at happiness and to eschew suffering. We might be doing okay as a whole with the first part (we’ve learned to grit our teeth and meet troubles head-on or to avoid altogether the ones we can) but all is not quite as well with the second part. At one point or another, each of us has asked himself some version of the question “what is happiness?” the answer to which is not always obvious (and for some of us rather elusive). As always, my suggestion is to approach the subject from various aspects while being aided by the opinions of a variety of folks who have proven their mettle, with the hope that our tenuous grip on happiness might become…well, less tenuous.
1. Matthieu Ricard: The Habits of Happiness
Since we mentioned buddhist philosophy at the outset, let’s listen to some of what the Buddhists have to say about happiness, as described by renowned Buddhist Monk of French origin, Matthieu Ricard, whom the press has referred to as the happiest man on earth.
2. Benjamin Wallace: The Price of Happiness
Journalist Benjamin Wallace conducted an experiment: he decided to purchase the world’s most expensive products in an attempt to answer the age old question – can one buy happiness? What do you think the answer is?
3. Martin Seligman: The New Era of Positive Psychology
Have you ever noticed that modern science (medicine, psychiatry/psychology) often looks at a person as a collection of diagnoses to be treated, ignoring the fact that a human being is a complex holistic creature? It seems to assume that the “problem” and subsequent diagnosis is the only possible point of departure. As a result, the movement of Positive Psychology has been rapidly gaining ground, for it doesn’t take problems as its point of departure but rather the positive aspects of a person’s life. If you want to know more, click on this video.
4. Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work
Work takes up the majority of our time and, therefore, a person who isn’t happy and fulfilled with what he does tends to have a hard time both at work and in life. Psychologist Shawn Achor offers some solutions.
5. Eve Ensler: Happiness in Body and Soul
In this insightful talk the activist and creator of the famous “Vagina Monologues” Eve Ensler demonstrates how speaking openly about her body can stand up to rape culture and help women and girls live a happy life.
6. Yann Dall’aglio: Love – you’re doing it wrong
Love is a potentially bottomless well of happiness. Finding it in this world of individualists and pragmatists is a challenge, though. Yann Dall’aglio has some advice.
7. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
And back to Positive Psychology. Hungarian psychologist MIhaly Csikszentmihalyi believes that the surest way to achieve long-lasting happiness is to immerse oneself in a sense of flow. See the video below to find out exactly what that is.
And some extras…
BJ Miller: What Really Matters at the End of Your Life
I already mentioned this video in one of my previous posts, but I want to come back to it. Fortunately, not a lot of us get to find out what a person feels just before he dies, when he is aware of his impending death. But it has been argued that this state tells us a great deal about what’s really important and points to the things that truly make us happy. Take a look.
I’d love to hear from you! Which of the talks spoke to you the most? Whose viewpoint could you relate to? Why?
If you liked our TED-selections, check out these too: 7+1 TED TALKS ABOUT HOW TO GET TO KNOW YOUR INNER SELF, 7+1 TED TALKS ON RELATIONSHIPS and 7+1 INSPIRING TED TALKS FOR WOMEN.
Enjoy and get inspired!