Chapter 3 Discussion: Casey’s pursuit of happiness

In high esteem, Casey is happy with her life. Casey’s happiness could be attributed to the positive mentality that gave her a life driven by meaning and pleasure (Ben-Shahar, 2007). Despite being blind, she found ultimate happiness by believing in herself, building her capabilities, and going past her limit. Casey’s pursuit of happiness-going for what she desired, made her conquer her sorrow and sight limitation when she would not work anymore as a global management consultant. Casey’s belief in herself propelled her to attain success in life and finding fulfillment in her abilities regardless of being blind. Happiness is achieved when a person truly believes in himself/herself because doing so yields purpose, and when he/she enjoys every bit of challenges or success that comes along the way. A positive mentality automatically triggers positive emotions and progress.

            I am in total agreement with Casey that self-acceptance is fundamental in the attainment of happiness. I believe flaws, incapability, and other limitations do not condemn an individual to failure, but rather it fuels a person to a promising destination. According to Ben-Shahar, 2007, having moments of unhappiness, which can be interpreted as limitations in our case, should not rule out the overall happiness. Therefore, accepting our strengths and weakness without negativity will lead to a joyful life. Challenges play a crucial role in shaping a meaningful life. Self-denial brings aspects of comparison that contribute to depression and failure in life.

            Parents and guardians fail to inspire children to work hard and become successful in the right way. Parents create a rat racer attitude to bring up children. Occasionally parents instill fear in children to persuade them to study by pointing out things in the society- if you fail to work hard; you end up with a miserable life like someone. Likewise, parents promise their children that they will be like a particular person that seems successful if they work hard. In the end, kids place a lot of effort into school activities without necessarily enjoying so that they can be successful and not like the miserable guy. Parents also create a temporal motivation in their children to work hard by assuring them that they will not be in school for eternity. When parents convince children that working is a stage that passes, they make children struggle with education instead of enjoying learning.

           The author defines happiness as a combination of pleasure and meaning because the two elements attach purpose to life and link the present and future. The experience of pleasure governed by emotions enables us to act willingly to present issues while meaning influences an individual to find the purpose to work for future mystery. Pleasure is an essential psychological need because, without satisfaction, we cannot find a reason to find happiness. However, having positive emotions is not enough to guarantee happiness since we expect that our actions are also beneficial to others. We would not be happy when our loved ones are not happy; this means that positive emotions are an insufficient cause of happiness. When positive emotions motivate an individual to be successful without affecting the world, the individual will feel empty and lonely. The achievement of success will be in vain (Ben-Shahar, 2007).

           Self-generated ambitions come about when we create goals by examining our beliefs and values. The calling of an individual does not necessarily have to be religious but should possess intrinsic significance to an individual’s life. Epictetus statements meant to encourage people to pursue their capabilities by not attempting to please society. If a person is influenced by culture, he/she will do something he/she is incapable of and will end up wasting time and disappointed. Difficulties and painful experiences shape our ultimate happiness since it helps us seek goals worth of our potential and helps us appreciate pleasure.

           In my perspective, love is worth more than money. I believe love defines my character, ambitions, and purpose. I place love as the priority because with affection, all other things, including cash, are achievable. For love, I share with my parents and siblings; I found a reason to work hard in school and attain excellent grades to have a bright future. When love is given relevance in life, it is difficult to lose track of one’s principles, passion, and ambitions. When I marry and get children, I will work hard to satisfy the needs of my family in the name of love. In the absence of money, the emotions I have for my loved ones will inspire me to do something different and influential. I can donate my wealth to unprivileged persons for the love of humanity without expecting anything in return. In essence, love entails a happy life; the elements are pleasure and meaning.

           When people make money as the ultimate currency, they become confused, desperate, and lonely when they get the money. The strife for wealth as the end rather than happiness is dangerous because the pursuit of money is finite while the latter is endless. The craving for money should be fueled with the desire for pleasure; if not so, people tend to seek other sources of happiness, such as turning to drugs when they have money without purpose. The richest are not entirely happy because the pursuit of wealth without ambition is useless. Although money can buy things that can contribute to happiness, money cannot buy meaning. Meaning originates from self-examination. Without intrinsic examination, an individual is likely to become unhappy due to social expectations. People that have a meaningful life benefit from lottery money because they use the funds to advance their happiness level (Ben-Shahar, 2007).

           People who win lottery money often mistake when they assume that they will remain with the money to sustain their joy at all times. Lottery winners, therefore, get used to having a lot of money to be happy. When they use up the money, they end up with ruined lives because they can only find happiness by spending money to get satisfaction. Most people are under the illusion that money will make them happier; therefore, they become miserable when reality hits them after attaining financial goals. The fact of life is that money does not guarantee happiness. According to Ben-Shahar, 2007, the blind pursuit of money leads to depression and anxiety, which we can term as emotional bankruptcy. Society today paints a tyrannizing image of money, creating the impression that all goodness and perfections in the world are associated with wealth.

           According to Ben-Shahar, 2007, happiness is the ultimate currency because the pursuit of happiness is endless. The desire for money is temporal, but joy is a constant basic need in human life. Philosophy of life is crucial and incomparable to wealth. A person with knowledge of philosophy enjoys the journey to a thriving destination and leads a happier life. One should find pleasure and meaning in doing things to achieve happiness. For instance, engaging in income-generating tasks with a passionate heart assures a happier life. Creating goals based on one’s values, passion, and abilities without societal pressure is critical in developing a meaningful philosophical life.

References

Ben-Shahar, T. (2007). Happier: Learn the secrets to daily joy and lasting fulfillment. McGraw Hill Professional.

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