Third research round – what do other people think? what is my opinion?
While looking for sources, I noticed many people already have their own ideas about what it takes to be happy. These ideas vary a lot with culture, age, and overall personal values. In this round of research, I am going to look different ideas of how to achieve overall happiness in your life, and compare them to what I’ve learnt in my past research rounds. Using all of this information, I’m going formulate my own idea in order to answer my inquiry question.
I already touched on this in my last research round, but based on the results of a survey I conducted, but it seems that here in Canada people tend to link relationships and success (particularly in career) to happiness. Everyone who answered my survey said that money played an important role in their happiness, and many explained that it was essential to ensure your quality of life. I see it a little bit differently. As I learnt in my first research round, there are different levels of happiness. In my opinion, money only generates instantaneous happiness if anything, and does not affect your overall happiness. It does however prevent you from becoming unhappy. I think that there’s a difference between not being unhappy and really leading a happy life. Real happiness has to do with fulfilment and overall sense of purpose. Of course, one could argue that money can buy you experiences which do have a bigger impact on your overall happiness.
This survey I conducted was also very interesting because I got to see how different the culture around happiness is here in Canada compared to in Romania where my parents grew up. I did a little bit of research, and I learnt that many different places around the world have many different views on happiness. A particularly interesting article I read showed the contrast between the perspective of happiness in America and in Asia . Here’s a brief point form summary of what I learnt:
- In America, similarly to Canada, people perceive success, free will, and self expression as essential things that will bring happiness.
- In Asia, people believe that happiness starts within, and that it’s important to be social and share it with others. They also believe that having strong virtues is important.
Personally, I believe that there is truth in both perceptions, but my perspective tends to me more similar to the people from Asia. I think that no matter what you have, if you aren’t at peace with yourself, you’ll never truly be happy. The American outlook has a serious flaw for me: how will you achieve success, when you could always be more successful that you already are? When will it be good enough? It seems like chasing an impossible goal.
Another important thing to consider is whether total happiness is really achievable. After doing all this research, I realize now what happiness is, and what it means. And I understand that this glamorized version of happiness that we see so often in the media does not exist. I’ve already mentioned this previously, but I will touch on it again because I think it’s very important. Leading a happy life does not mean that you only experience happiness in every moment. I learnt in my first round of research that it’s healthy to experience a full range of emotions as long as there’s balance. However, in my survey, I received all sorts of responses to this. A few people said similar things to what I just explained. Others stated that total happiness is achievable if you have the right mindset. One of the answers that really caught my attention was a reply that explained they believe humans don’t fully understand when they are really happy, and total happiness is a thing we create. I thought that was a very interesting way of looking at things, and totally true! There’s so much about emotions that we don’t understand, and that we don’t quite know how to explain. Happiness is such a general term after all. Furthermore, in my second round of research, I learnt that it’s possible that people feel happiness to a different extent, and everyone has a set range of emotions. This makes it more difficult for us to understand the happiness of people around us, and to relate it to our own.
To summarize and answer my big question, happiness to me means self fulfilment. Feeling fulfilled covers all three levels of happiness, and is an attainable goal. In order to feel fulfilled, I personally feel the need to follow my passions, whether that be in relationship or career. If I am passionate about something or someone, I feel at peace inside when I follow that passion. I thought that maybe through this research I would learn what lifestyle causes happiness, so that I would have a realistic goal to strive for. But what I really learnt was that there are no instructions. Everyone is so different. I know it sounds so cheesy, but the only thing stopping us from being happy is ourselves. The most important part is to know yourself, and know what makes you feel good, what makes you feel at peace. Then, chase that feeling.