The whole happiness thing is huge right now. Everywhere you turn (it seems), there’s an article, a quote, or a conversation happening that pertains to the pursuit of happiness. Which makes sense. Who doesn’t want to be happy?
There’s a brilliant 75+ year long study that seeks to answer what makes people happy, and surprisingly (or not), happiness isn’t found where you’d think.
It isn’t found in a sizable bank account.
Or a big home.
Or a fancy car.
Or a trendy wardrobe.
Or a chiselled physique.
Or a big boat.
Or shiny toys.
Or needing to have your name in neon lights.
It’s about good relationships. Period.
In fact, Robert Waldinger – director of the happiness study and professor of psychiatry at Harvard medical school – highlights that the three most important lessons learned about health and happiness are as follows. Watch his TED Talk – ‘What Makes A Great Life?‘.
If you don’t have 12 minutes to spare, the summary is as follows:
- Social connections are great for you.
- It’s not about the quantity, but the quality of your relationships.
- Good relationships are great for your brain.
Translation: a red carpet life is all about people!
… people who are socially connected to family, friends and their community … people who have deeply meaningful relationships with those they hold near and dear … people who see themselves as part of a bigger picture and contributing members of a larger community… people who live their lives choosing to give of themselves rather that get for themselves … people who see that rolling our their lives in service to others is the truest pathway to significance, meaning, purpose, fulfillment and happiness.
Or as Dr. Martin Seligman puts it (director of Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and whose research concentrates on what makes people feel happy and fulfilled), there are two conflicting views of human happiness: the individualistic approach, which empathizes that we should take care of ourselves and nurture our own strengths; or the altruistic approach, which emphasizes sacrifice to achieve a greater purpose.
So what exactly does this mean for you, me and we, when we live in a culture neck-deep in individualism, rat-racing and social isolation?
I can think of no better way to summarize the look of this kind of happiness than with this super popular quote:
I’d say connection is a great place to start in your pursuit of happiness.
Have your friends over.
Call your family.
Participate in community events.
Make a point of having meaningful conversation.
Volunteer for something you are passionate about.
Think about others more than you think about yourself.
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” –Italian Proverb
Check out our I Am Rich campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to challenge each of us to take a look at our lives and appreciate what it means to be truly rich. A richness not defined by material wealth or possessions, but an appreciation for all that we already have, and to use what we’ve got to help those around us; right here, right now.
We have 30 contributions so far, rolling out 1 per day. They are so unique, personal and all truly inspiring. Check them all out, and even contribute your own!
See the campaign: RedCarpetLife.com/IAmRich