Daniel Kahneman once said, “People have ready made answers to many questions about themselves; they know their name, their address, and their party affiliation. But they do not generally know how happy they are, and they must construct an answer to that question whenever it is raised. ” (Quoted in Matthieu Ricard‘s Book Happiness in the chapter: The Sociology of Happiness, pp. 169-185. It presents very clear summary of the research on happiness and well-being done by world-renowned psychologists.)
I stopped reading the book when I came across Kahneman’s quote and it made me think. Well, I myself did not have an answer for that question at that moment but I was also not in hurry to think and construct an answer. I was amazed how we forget to ask this important question with ourselves. We are always busy thinking and looking answers for other questions that we think are more important. Most of the times, we are engaged in thinking for solving problems that surround us. Why is it whatever we touch upon turns into a problem? What is the reason behind our obsession with problems and complications? Why do we have so less time and make even little effort to think about happiness and our own well-being?
Despite all the unanswered questions and problems, Happiness remains a supreme goal of all human beings. We all want to be happy, we take different routes to reach the same destination. We engage in different activities to become happy. A desperate person commits suicide seeking happiness- the end to the pain.
Happiness is a BIG question but the answer is not simple. But one thing is correct: True Happiness lies within ourselves, it is an illusion to look outside ourselves.