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Some Thoughts on Happiness for the New Year

Dec 30, 2014 01:49PM, Published by A Kitchen Drawer Writer , Categories: Lifestyle




Donald Draper once defined happiness as "a moment before you need more happiness," and of course this is fitting for the deeply disturbed main character of Mad Men

We may be trained to believe that happiness means the opposite of being sad, that despair could never plague a truly happy person. Hugh MacKay, author of The Good Life, begs to differ. Mackay has spent his entire working life asking Australians about their values, motivations, ambitions, hopes and fears. Now, in The Good Life, he addresses the ultimate question: What makes a life worth living?

This quote from his book is incredibly thought-provoking: 

I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don't mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It's a really odd thing that we're now seeing people saying "write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep" and "cheer up" and "happiness is our birthright" and so on. We're kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It's rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don't teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, "Quick! Move on! Cheer up!" I'd like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word "happiness" and to replace it with the word "wholeness." Ask yourself, "Is this contributing to my wholeness?" and if you're having a bad day, it is.
A good thought to remember the next time you say, "I just want this day to be over." 


The Good Life Hugh MacKay Mad Men


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