Emotional intelligence studies by Daniel Goleman show that a third of teenagers in the US suffer from clinically deep depression, low self-esteem and a lack of self-worth. This isn’t just an American problem with worldwide figures showing similar results across cultural and socio economic boundaries. In the last 50 years, despite the fact that we have earned double the amount of our Baby Boomer parents, who in turn made more than our Silent Generation grandparents, all that disposable income hasn’t actually led to a significant rise in ‘happiness’ per person.
Let’s face it, when you went out to play with friends and had no Playstation, internet or DVD players there was a certain satisfaction in creating your own entertainment that the fast food guzzling overweight kids of the Generation Z era will never know. According to Goleman, these reasons explain why we are seeing such a rise in alcoholism, drug addiction and religious fanaticism as extreme views and solutions find a greater number people looking, but unable to find ‘something more’.
What is happiness? If you could guarantee it for all you staff and give it out as wages, would it be more cost-effective than your monthly wage expenditure? Many believe that happiness is the ultimate currency and therefore everything else is only useful as a means for leading towards the basic pursuit of achieving more of it.
But could we truly be 100% happy? Probably not. I love my wife’s Thai green chicken curry, but eating it all the time wouldn’t make me happier. In fact eventually, I would get sick of it. This is because a large part of the pleasure comes from the change experienced having eaten other foods.
By the way, don’t tell her this.
As scientists and economists can only gauge a breakthrough by comparisons to a controlled state, so we also appreciate things that make us happy by knowledge of those which didn’t.
So what makes us happy? Needless to say, positive thinking comes into it. Research analyzing diaries kept throughout their test subjects lifetimes, discovered that those who were positive from their teenage years lived on average 10 years longer than those who were negative. Giving gratitude daily and acknowledging good times helps sustain this.
Author Tal Ben-Shahar believes that we automatically relate to 3 different types of life philosophy.
1) The Rat Racer
To this person everything is about working hard to get success tomorrow. The idea being when finally it does come, they can just relax, have fun and enjoy their hard earned spoils. The ‘when’ never actually arrives. Since their childhood, education and their working life, pain has always equaled gain and the competition is always looking to eat you up and spit you out. Later on during their mid-life crisis, they realize that they have never actually been happy and that everything they have ever done was either for someone else or for a satisfaction which they’ve never experienced. Sure they know how to be a workaholic, but they are as remote from their children as their parents were from them never knowing how to be happy, just how to work harder.
2) The Hedonist
This person lives for today and as many pleasures as they can possibly get their hands on. Tomorrow is a term that doesn’t matter each new day they just look for the quickest way to get happy and zone in on that whether they do so alone or with friends. They can often fall foul of gambling debts, substance abuse or similar conditions created by a lack of long term thinking and planning.
3) The Nihilst
For this group, the world is a cold and uncaring place. Everyone only bothers about themselves and tomorrow will probably be even worse than today was. There is no point in planning anything as it won’t make any difference. The whole world seems to conspire against your happiness, so it is better just to stay small and keep yourself to yourself.
I personally advocate a fourth category:
4) The Life Designer
This person aims to combine the most useful parts of the Hedonist with The Rat Racer. This means enjoying what makes you happy today whilst planning for a way to make this a permanent state of mind in the future. That means employing business thinking to make more of the things which make you happy. This means taking a job which challenges and engages you in an environment that rewards you surrounded by people who respect your spiritual identity and journey. The Life Designer understands that the journey itself is more important than the arrival.
You will probably recognize people you know from the above examples.
So how do we all move forward and create more current and long term happiness? Well, the answer relates to your own perception and self-awareness.
Once you are aware of which category, which your philosophies have been fitting into, you are then able to start the change to make yourself a Life Designer too.
Once you are ready to do that, let me know.
The Life Designer
Certified Hypnotherapist, NLP Master Practitioner and Life Coach and author, Dave Crane is the original Life Designer.
This former BBC journalist is one of the freshest and highly requested speaker/trainers and motivational entertainers in the market. One motivational session in Greece led to one Global company recording a 49% growth in sales within their next 12 months period and they attributed much of it to his work.
Dave’s media credits include being one of the best known names in GCC regional radio, a freelance journalist and TV anchor. Dave’s newest passion is online marketing.
His books include ‘Happy Birthday X -This is the Best Present You’re Ever Gonna Get’, ‘The Credit Crunch Survival Guide’, ‘Stop Smoking For Life’ and ‘The Life Designers Companion อนิเมะซับไทย‘.
Dave’s best-selling CD ‘Now That’s What I Call Hypnosis’ has changed thousands of lives worldwide and was performed to Bollywood royalty in Mumbai including Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Khan & Simi Garewell.
Dave’s Stage Hypnosis Show has sold out theatres worldwide including Las Vegas and Monte Carlo.
One of the region’s best known hosts whose credits include:
• World Cup Rugby Sevens 2009 (120,000 in stadium, 780 million TV viewers).
• The Legends Rock Dubai Tennis Masters Championship with Jim Courier, Stefan Edberg, Pat Cash & Michael Stich.
• The Speedcar Series Motor Racing with Jean Alesi, Gianni Morbidelli, Johnny Herbert and Stefan Johansson.
• Planet Hollywood Dubai with Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes,,Cindy Crawford, Amitabh Bachchan.
• Numerous concerts including Kanye West, Joss Stone, The Prodigy, Mika, Madness, Iron Maiden, James Brown, Sting, Robert Plant, Iron Maiden, Joss Stone, Westlife, The Prodigy, Velvet Revolver, Paul Weller, Madness, Ziggy Marley & Geri Halliwell.