Toward the end of his August book review of “Exploring Happiness” by Swedish born philosopher Sissela Bok for the Wall Street Journal, Paul Beston, associate editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, states:
“He who worries about happiness in itself has probably already secured his dinner.”
Oh I so disagree, Mr. Beston. Faced with poverty, disease, war and loss, people will still seek happiness. Some, like Ingrid Betancourt, who only ate a couple of bugs a day while in captivity, will still take big risks for happiness.
While campaigning for president of Colombia, Betancourt was abducted and held hostage for more than six years. When her captors confiscated all of the prisoners’ radios, she kept hers, despite threats against her and the other prisoners. Why? Because the “Voices of Kidnapping,” a radio program that relays messages from family members to people held captive by terrorists, was the high point of her day and Betancourt’s mother sent daily messages.
So, despite brutality and deprivation, Betancourt was motivated by one small pleasure.
Coaching questions about reaching for higher levels of happiness often illuminate a next action step when paralysis prevails. When I ask clients “What would make you happy?” Or “What needs to change to make you happy?” I’m often amazed at how options come alive.
No matter how your happy-rating falls, we all have a heightened desire for more personal contentment. Make seeking more happiness in life your ”fire in the belly.” Whether you are stuck in your career or marriage, have a monster for a boss or are working yourself silly, take a look at what it would take to increase your happiness in life and work.