Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Happiness and satisfaction (2)

Yesterday’s part one solved one of my long-term mysteries. For decades, I had been comparing my situation with the situation of others (eg, on vacation). That comparison often resulted in a dilemma: I have “everything” but I’m unhappy while they have “nothing” and look happy. Please note that our use of the word “nothing” is always relative and never absolute (my 2018 blog).

With the knowledge of hindsight, I had been comparing apples and oranges for decades. According to psychologist Daniel Kahneman, happiness can be achieved with minimal efforts:

if you aren’t hungry, and if clothing, shelter, and your other basics are covered, you’re capable of being at least as happy as the world’s wealthiest people.” (Quartz)

Moreover, “above a certain level of income that satisfies our basic needs, wealth doesn’t increase happiness. “The graph is surprisingly flat,” the psychologist [Kahneman] says.” (Quartz)

I suppose I previously viewed happiness as something that could only be achieved after fulfilling (most of) my Needs and Wants. Despite fulfilling most of these, happiness did not come any closer within my reach. That observation probably even increased my feelings of unhappiness.

I should note though that money is indeed capable of buying short-term and fleeting experiences of joy. However, afterwards you will return to your default feeling of (un)happiness. The entire Wants stage in my life did give me joy and satisfaction but it did not help to achieve happiness. Perhaps, even the opposite.

The concept of Less (wealth) = More (happiness) is actually a scaling back on the curve that Daniel Kahneman was referring to above. If more wealth doesn’t achieve your goal(s) than less wealth might do it. The Less = More concept (my blogs) is helpful but only when applied with modesty. Else, a feeling of dissatisfaction may increase your unhappiness.

The Less = More concept is, however, a start of the introspective journey that I mentioned in part one. That journey will – hopefully – reveal your priorities in life which you need to know for making choices (my recent blog).

I learned that having a job (ie, my former passion) can even be worse than not having a job. That revelation has affected my priorities in life. I also discovered a new and unexpected passion: writing. The combination of both led to an important choice in my life: sell in May and go away.

Strange Fruit (1939) by Billie Holiday

artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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