Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The pursuit of happiness

Last night I decided to watch this documentary on Netflix called Happy. It's always been recommended to me, what with my previous viewings of Jiro Dreams of Sushi and that "accidental" time I clicked on Taylor Swift's documentary. 

While I did have critiques about the movie, the general concept of the movie was fascinating. According the the film, 50% of our happiness capacity is genetic, and surprisingly only 10% of our happiness comes from external sources (ie money, cars, friends). That means that 40% of our happiness results from our actions. Interesting right? There is this term "flow," which is the happiness that arises from simply doing something for no reason, and it is actually the leading source of happiness for individuals. For example, most runners are running for the pure act of running. It brings them satisfaction in their life, and they keep doing so because they enjoy it. "Flow," has been scientifically proven to bring more long term happiness to individuals than the short exuberance that comes from fortuitous events or reaching external goals (such as buying that new luxury car). For most people money does lead to happiness, but this happiness is capped. According to the film, the difference in happiness in someone making $5,000 compared to $50,000 is huge. However, the difference in happiness in someone making $50,000 and someone making $50 million is minimal. Interesting concept isn't it?

A few of my friends came and visited me this weekend, and one of them commented that my blog seemed different. More specifically, my posts seemed happier. At first I was taken aback, but then I realized that I was happier. This summer has been the first time that I am free in the day time to pursue my own hobbies. Previously, I was always inundated with either class or internships, and I never fully enjoyed a break to explore my own hobbies. The documentary explained that satisfying intrinsic desires brings more happiness, and I truly believe that this summer is the time to do it. I have the luxury of doing things I enjoy every morning, from baking muffins to baking in the sun, all of which fulfill my own sense of happiness. So readers, even if you don't have the luxury to do things that make you happy, at least determine what could potentially bring you intrinsic happiness. Or just do some community service or something. Just watch, you'll feel happier already.

What brings you happiness? 


Feral puppies 
And of course, guilt free muffins! 

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