What Makes People Happy?

Some people who are tremendously successful seem to also be very unhappy. While other people who are not as successful seem to be content with the level of success they have.

Why? Because there’s not one single thing that alone will make you happy.

Instead, what most philosophers and psychologists agree with is that happiness is the result of multiple things going right in your life such as the daily pleasures you experience, the level of engagement you have with your work, healthy friendships, a healthy relationship, a sense of meaning in what you do, and a sense of accomplishment.

Happiness therefore is a mix of things in your life. And this mix is different for every individual meaning there is no one way to be happy and there is no wrong way to be happy.

I may draw my happiness from the work I do and the relationship I’m in, while somebody else may draw their happiness from being actively engaged in a pursuit of a goal and the exercise they partake in.

But whether it’s love, work, knowledge, or community that makes you happy, it’s up to you to figure that out.


37 thoughts on “What Makes People Happy?

  1. I strongly believe that happiness is in our head alone. We can ‘control’our happiness through the things we choose to perceive and the pleasures we choose to draw from the small moments of everyday life. Let me share something that happened in my own life.
    I was attending the funeral of someone very close to me. My heart was filled with grief and I was torn apart in my head. A few hours later when I was still consumed by the sorrow, a kid (about 4-5 years old) walked up to me asking if I had any chocolate. He obviously didn’t know what was going on around him. He laughed and played with me for several minutes and said he was hungry and that he’d love to get something to eat. And in those few minutes that I was with him, engrossed in his sweet talks and uninhibited flair for life, I was ‘happy’, in spite of all the sorrow in my heart.
    What do you think?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If happiness really does comes from within then stop blogging and stop hanging out with any of your friends for a year. Tell me if you would still be just as happy as you are now by just changing your thoughts.

      No, i don’t believe happiness comes from within. Often times, most people will say things like “Just be happy” “Happiness is a choice” and “Happiness comes from within,” without ever really studying how happiness in the brain actually works. I agree that to an extent, happiness does comes from within, but happiness also very largely comes from outside circumstances.

      Science shows that there are a lot of outside conditions that can significantly increase or decrease your happiness. One example of these conditions is romantic relationships.

      A good relationship has been proven to make people happy and to make happy people even happier. Much of the apparent benefit of being in a good relationship is that it provides real companionship, which is a basic need for all human beings. On the other hand, a bad relationship has the ability to make happy people feel miserable. Science shows that if you get the relationship part of your life wrong, you will experience pain that is as identical in the brain as breaking a bone, meaning it is unavoidable to feel this unhappiness. You will not be able to become some “enlightened” being who rises above the situation. You won’t be able to meditate your way out of this. If you get the love part of your life wrong, you will find it very difficult to be happy. This is important to understand because most people think they can just overcome this situation simply by changing their thoughts to be more positive towards the circumstances. Research however disagrees with that idea.

      Of course, someone like Buddha would just overcome interpersonal conflict and bad relationships, but it has always been difficult, even in Ancient India, for real people to become like Buddha. In the modern world, it is even harder to follow Buddha’s path of finding happiness despite one’s circumstances. Some of the world’s best poets and writers in fact urge us to forgo that path and not listen to this philosophy and embrace action full on. Instead of finding happiness within, they urge us to take action by finding happiness outside.

      This is something I strongly believe in. If I come off rude, I’m sorry

      Liked by 1 person

      1. well slightly rude but I didn’t mind it 🙂
        And I think I do agree with your argument. The state of being happy is something you can prepare yourself for i.e. you can prepare yourself to be receptive but you can’t quite ‘just be happy’! External circumstances to affect our state of mind to a large extent. I can’t explain it completely somehow but I have felt happy by myself many a times. Now I don’t know if it is just me or if those moments were interspersed with moments of happiness that came to me by virtue of my interactions with others.
        Intriguing thought. Thanks for the post! I will spend more time thinking about this!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. sorry, I think this is the first time I’ve disagreed with something you said and it just so happened to be about something I’m passionate about so again, I’m sorry. I’m very impressed with how well you responded though. I agreed that to an extent that happiness comes from within, which may be the times you have felt happy on your own, but I believe the majority of your happiness and the level of that happiness will mostly come from outside circumstances. I’m just a bigger believer in the idea that if you’re unhappy with your circumstances that you should change those circumstances. Seeing the good in a bad situation for me typically takes a back seat in those situations. I’ll continue to think about it as well. thank you for the discussion:)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ah don’t worry about it 🙂 I didn’t mind the disagreement. It is however amazing how your posts always make me think and reconsider my opinions 🙂
        You are doing a great job with your blog. Do stop by mine sometime. It’s not as great as yours but I think I make a decent attempt at writing. Cheers and have a wonderful day! Looking forward to another lovely discussion on another post.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We are impacted by everything outside and then that becimes inside… therefore the inflence of saddness and happiness is external. Unless we are able to reach a state of spirituality, self understanding, inner strenght , and inner peace and contentment etc and be constant with thoses states.. the we are a puppet on strings of who we react to life.

    If we are able to become so internally strong then we can, along with company of the divine achieve internal happiness.. but it is hard because we dont have that internal peace and contentment thou we may want it. I am practicung not to react and i still havent quite reached a state of no reaction sometimes i feel yeap getting there and then sometimes its like i am just a begginner at not reacting. We are impacted by the external unfortunately… but we need to learn to be fully internally so external doesnt imapact us which is hard but not impossible for some..

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Btw i finished Crush IT finally on the tube. It took me ages i know. I am thankful gary summaries it at the end. Gary has so much energy and i dont ..i did may be when i was younger. But there some take away for me.. like my brand my pasdion, reactive business model, commenting and staying true to my dna… i will crush it bella style ..not gary style cause if i do it gary style i will crash.. i mean it.. i just handle everything in my life right now. Not saying i am not enjoying life. I am enjoying it and loving being at work.. but i am not that young for sure and the tube journey oh man it kills me.. i never thought i would ever say that. Thank god i meditate otherwise i would be a right mess.. lol. Speak soon. Bella

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s so great that you read it Bella!! I’m so happy you read it:)))))))))) Gary is all about being self aware and doing what works for you so he won’t be mad at you for doing it Bella style. I hope you learned a few things in that book that may be valuable to you:)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I love the book and its writing style and frankness. I know Gary wont mind and its a great resource.. i want to write out his tips and stick it where i can refer to them and do it bella style. Actually the randomness of it his book made me say i am bloghing every day with conviction… man i hope it pays off. I know it is totally in the wrong direction of gary’s advice.. but if i blog everyday i dont have time to read books, have my spiritual time, do the blogging networking and i am getting busy at work.. so i am going to try and get work smart about it… hope i can di it

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s also imortant to let yourself be happy and figure out what will make you happy. We let the goals of others and their idea of happiness influence us too much. Happiness is a concept a lot of people seem to be chasing madly and unsuccessfully. It is subjective. Each and everyone of us has to answer the question “What will make me happy?” on their own and then do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This post wasn’t really about finding the good in bad situations. It was more so about the idea that if you’re unhappy with your situation than you have to change your situation. Happiness is when multiple things are going right in your life. And it’s your job to find what those things are for you and to pursue them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happiness is what you, personally, want it to be.
    Your post explains it quite well. My short take on the subject is that the older one gets, the more content we become, and the more content we become, the happier we become as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can remember days where the weather was bad so I spent the day reading, drank hot coco had a light dinner and went to bed totally happy and content and actually said I had just had a perfect day. Happiness can last a few minutes, hours a day or longer. It’s transient and to be appreciated. I call it a time out from the realities of life. I can also be happy when others have a success, new child or at a wedding where happiness seems to abound. I read a story in the newspaper years ago where a homeless man in San Francisco who came into some money so he took a room at a beautiful hotel, got pampered and had a wonderful dinner and then went back to his room and committed suicide.. he left a note saying he had just had a perfect day, was happy for the first time in a long time and it was a good time to die.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with that take on happiness:) happiness doesn’t necessarily mean you always have a smile on your face. happiness isn’t continuous. it could be for an hour as you said.

      I think it’s important to be happy for other people’s success as well. This can be harder for a lot of individuals to do however. If you’re not happy about other people’s success then that just means you’re not yet happy with yours.

      That last story is sad, I’m trying to figure out what the message was?


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