What does ‘happiness’ or ‘contentment’ mean to you?
We all have some insight into the boundless index of ‘free entry’ avenues leading toward perfect happiness and contentment. There also exists a comparable directory of joy infusing opportunities with variable price tags. That’s not to say that endless wealth guarantees a life filled with boundless levels of joy. Arguably, the complexity of choice could present more difficulties than the contrary.
The truth of the matter is, happiness is vastly subjective and isn’t a one size fits all construct. For instance, Peter and Clare have participated in the gift of giving by delivering a free breakfast for the local community each month. A proud example of how low cost joy, and the priceless return of a good deed, proves that obtaining wealth isn’t everything (fast cars and exotic holiday adventures also bring a good amount of happiness too).
So how do we qualify wealth into happiness?
Most would assume to pinpoint an ideal level of assets that will facilitate their particular version of happiness and strive for that goal. Here at Varria, we share in the dream of contentment and have the pleasure of learning, from varied perspectives, what happiness means to a variety of people through their stories. I thought I would share a few unique experiences as suggestive encouragement for the more cynical among us.
One story that remains close to my travel indulgent heart is the pilgrimage a client took through Spain. Keeping it sweetly simple and choosing to board in the more rudimentary of accommodations, she made the entire 850km journey on foot. Eliminating the luxuries of what money would buy is not only what made her expedition into what I would consider a very impressive Facebook holiday catalogue but a tremendous journey of self-discovery. As clichéd as this reads, I wholeheartedly believe this is the type of commitment that thrusts us closer towards actualisation. Not to suggest we all strap on our joggers and walk for joy but committing to your own happiness holds importance and great effect on professional, familial and personal relationships.
This next example highlights the ever evolving nature of happiness. As retirees these clients had made a commitment to their own happiness via being generativist. That is, using the hard earned fruits of their labour to ensure the success of their family. This may sound like a typical approach to most but as a single, thirty year old, childless female, for me, this remains a distant attitude. This commitment takes discipline to guarantee sustainability but they continue to prosper and support their family with business, education and family holidays. The immeasurable benefit of an investment in family is apparent but takes wisdom and great foresight to accomplish.
Although long term happiness often takes long term planning, there is the more immediate injection of bliss which we can’t overlook. Indulgence can be highly addictive and should be approached with caution but I myself am a staunch advocate for eating out, massage, beauty therapy and, to put it plainly, feeling good. An annual appraisal of just how much I’m willing to invest in this kind of dopamine addiction was a chilling shock into how modesty in indulgence is an important component to my personal wealth. Consequently I’ve developed a new disciplined schedule of self-pampering and, for now, I love it!
We may not have explored the complex neurochemistry of happiness however, I’m sure we can all agree that as individuals we develop an ‘acquired taste’ for what ‘happiness’ means. Some however, seem to comprehend their own tastes a lot better than others and as I learn the tricks of the happiness trade I’ve noticed a common theme of commitment, preparation, sustainability and a whole lot of imagination.