What is happiness, anyway? Money cannot buy happiness. It creates an environment which may make it easier to find happiness. So that eliminates things of material value.

 What about love? In loving others, can we find happiness? Perhaps, but this isn't always permanent. People will always let you down sooner or later. There isn't anything on Earth which provides everlasting love.

 To be happy, you have to be content. This doesn't mean to think, "Oh, well I have no right to be  unhappy. There are people in slums with nothing but a tin roof over their heads and sorta clean drinking water. My life is okay." It's true, but it doesn't help. 

 Now what? How can one find contentedness and, therefore, find happiness? It isn't easy in a society that holds people up to unrealistic standards.

  •  Being a size twelve was once okay (and, actually, kinda sexy.) Now beauty is defined by how thin you can be without dying, stuffing yourself with plastic and caking on products to try to conform to so-called beauties in magazines. 
  • Sex sex sex. You aren't cool unless you have it. You need it, just like you need that $100 mascara and that over-priced cardigan.
  • Respect? Who needs it. You don't need self-respect, first of all. And why care about other people? They sure don't care about you. 

 The list goes on and on, and although societal pressures are a whole different discussion, we now have an overview of certain issues we deal with daily. 

 Find someone to talk to. This helps. Oh so cliche, I know. But this is the thing.

  You can never be helped if you accept sadness.

  If you don't WANT to be happy, you never will be. Ever. I pinky promise. 

 It's true, there are people who need medicine to control their mood swings. This can't be ignored. But, again, regardless of what pill you pop, you can talk yourself into believing it will never be enough.

 Man up. Face your problems. Find a hobby. Find a friend. Find yourself, find happiness.



 On a side note, this is my first discussion. It's a little scatter brained, I'll admit, but I hope everyone felt a little bit encouraged. 

 Also, feel free to ask for advice etc. 

Tags: happiness, happy, life

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I totally agree, happiness is a choice even if it's not a conscious one.
no otherwise nobody would be sad because everyone would choose to be happy.
Of course no one can be 100% happy all the time. Crappy things happen everyday, but you can choose how you react & choose to focus on the positive & I think that will affect your general happiness.
thank you for your reply!

But that's just asking you to be optimistic about everything. That's like living with your head in the clouds. I'm not asking for pessimism, but how about this, REALISM. Why can't people take things for what they are, good or bad, happy or sad. You don't need to look at the great part of everything, because nobody would do that.


Lets say someones house burns down and they lose their fiance. But he's going to focus on the positive and say,"There are always more fish in the sea." and "I didn't really like that house any ways." Please watch the video. It'll explain why optimism, and even pessimism is absolutely ridiculous. 

I totally agree. we obviously cannot control everything that happens around us, but no matter what, we always control our reactions to them. if you react in a positive way, and go about trying to change whats wrong with the crappy things that are happening, you will be a lot happier. in short, if you think happily, more often than not you will be happy. ive even seen people with depression have this work for them 


Firstly, I think you are an intelligent person who is definitely made of awesome.
Secondly, I'd say that happiness is comparative. 
For example: a warm shower would mean little to me right now, but after the 50km walk I'm doing in a few weeks time, it will be heaven. 
Or love: initially people start single and are happy. Then they better someone, become more happy, but then if the relationship doesn't work out they feel really sad! Even though now they are just in the same state they were when they were single and happy. 

So what does this mean? Well I would agree with your premises about money/happiness and social pressures. So I would say that the only way to find happiness is to find something or someone that you can absolutely rely on and consider yourself happy even if you only have that/them. For after all, as Hank said in 'Is Google Alive?', humans want thing and our inability to be content is perhaps what makes us alive so you can't satitsfy human greed in my opinion.

Another curious thing can be observed when you look at who is happy and who isn't. Often the starving children in the slums you mentioned are happy, because they have no stressess and they are more content with the life they lead. Moreover, the only way to make their lives bearable is to be cheerful and that's a sort of survival mechanism- again just my opinion.
However, there are really really wealth businessmen who aren't happy. BBC Osborne with Terry Pratchet just aired a documentary about a famous wealthy businessman with a chronic disease who went to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to kill himself.

Overall, I don't think being happy is really a conscious choice. I belive it can be affected by your character and your personality (as to how well you takerhe ups and downs), but ultimately to be happy you need to either want to become a buddish monk and abandon material wealth and human desires in favour of a spirtuality or you will have to live your life in the Labryinth of Suffering.  
Thank you for the reply!

 Oh thank you, you flatter me!

 But, keeping in mind that happiness is comparative, this would mean that to experience happiness one must experience sadness (or discomfort, as in the case of your walk). 

 With this assertion, we see that happiness cannot exist without sadness. So, perhaps the act of being happy isn't conscious. However, the act of seeking happiness can define things, which would rely on character, as you said. 


 Thanks for the reply :3

Yeah that's right you can't have happiness without sadness. 

oh yay, a good discussion!

There are some great ideas here about happiness and how to find it. Thank you Josh Braun for the RSA Animate video, I love those things. It reminded me of a poem I shall now post for you...

The Obligation to be Happy
By Linda Pastan

It is more onerous
than the rites of beauty
or housework, harder than love.
But you expect it of me casually,
the way you expect the sun
to come up, not in spite of rain
or clouds but because of them.

And so I smile, as if my own fidelity
to sadness were a hidden vice—
that downward tug on my mouth,
my old suspicion that health
and love are brief irrelevancies,
no more than laughter in the warm dark
strangled at dawn.

Happiness. I try to hoist it
on my narrow shoulders again—
a knapsack heavy with gold coins.
I stumble around the house,   
bump into things.
Only Midas himself
would understand.
(taken from


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