|via Google Images|
Last night I watched a documentary on Netflix called Happy (see above picture). The basis of the documentary was to try to figure out what makes people happy. They went all around the world from places that were financially amazing to places that had horrible living circumstances and shocking enough (or maybe not so shocking) the people who were happiest, were the people who had the least amount of material things. In fact the richer society (Japan in this case) is currently going through an epidemic where the men literally work themselves to death. Seriously. They work such long, hard hours that their body just eventually gives in and dies. But on the flip side, another side of Japan prefers to focus on a more holistic lifestyle and they live to be in their hundreds. The difference? Their views. One of the studies done was to see how a person's view of the world and what their goals in life were would effect their happiness. Those who had goals of making lots of money and being rich and famous were generally displeased with life and pretty unhappy. The ones who were less concerned about material things were happier. Not to say that money can't buy happiness initially, but once material needs are met the happiness level doesn't go up when you make millions versus thousands. There is an instant gratification of course, but nothing long lasting. Scientific studies shows that a person is generally more happy when they are doing things to better their communities or relationships with people. Intentionally doing something just because, without any sort of physical reward for doing so.
It got me thinking a lot about the things that I think are important right now and what is really important. And also how I want my kids to be raised and how I want their outlook on life to be. I want them to be happy, healthy, productive members of society. I want them to know they are loved and be able to share unconditional love with anyone in need of it. That is rare now days I think. Not to say I'm not going to chase my financial goals by any means....but it means I'm going to stop and take a look around more as well and see what I can do to intentionally help someone else or better my community. I have found that I sway between selfishness and selflessness quite a bit and I'd prefer to stay predominately on the selflessness side of things personally.
Anyway....if you want a to watch a fascinating study on happiness? Check it out. It's called Happy.