Monday, April 2, 2012


Please respond to the following prompts: I expect you to to ask an open-ended critical level question at the end of your response that may prompt someone else. I also expect you to react to one other's comment within your own reflection. Make sure you are being thoughtful and discerning.

What constitutes happiness in life? What do you need to be happy? What should drive and push us? What might blind us from becoming happy?


  1. I believe that happiness comes from the everyday activities that we do and our experiences in life. Happiness can come from doing something completely different from your normal routine or it can consist of a normal activity that you enjoy doing. Happiness is not a tangible item that you can receive or buy at a store. Family also plays an important role in who you are and what makes you happy. A positive family environment will support you, which is important in relieving stress so that you can be happy. I don't think people NEED anything to be happy. I don’t understand what keeps people from being truly happy if they have a family, shelter, and food. People should be thankful that they have these items because many people aren’t able to. Many people believe that you need certain items in order to be happy, but if you forgot about those objects for a few moments I doubt you would explode. Motivation to be happy should come from our own personal ambitions. If we want to have a successful and happy life, then we should be pushed to reach that. If someone doesn't want a happy life, then they should visit a therapist. Everyone wants to be happy because happiness provides comfort and health that is hard to get otherwise. The tangible items that many people want in life sometimes blind us from being truly happy. We are so focused on what we can't have that we forget about what we already have. People are blinded by their wants because they don't see the beauty in what life has given them. How is what we want different from what we need?

  2. I don't know what constitutes happiness, I really don't. However, I also don't know what constitutes sadness. I think everyone in the world has their fair share of both emotions. Emotions come within and are not sparked by anything in particular. I think the way a person feels has a lot to do with chance. As crazy as that may seem, I think the outlook someone has when they get out of bed in the morning is carried out when they handle every situation throughout the day. Like anything else, happiness come from inside. As Vivian said, tanglibe items can't waiver that.

    I think everyone needs different things to be happy. For me, I need self acceptance, family and friends, and God.

    In the end, all that matters is happiness. The majority of people say happiness is their number one goal, but people loose sight of that. People become obsessed with being sucsessful and have nothing to show for it. As repeatitive as this may sound, money cant buy happiness.

    Is it possible to live a life without sadness?

  3. For me, I believe that establishing personal connections constitutes personal happiness. Personal connections that are created when hanging out with family and friends always seem to make me happy. I am gladdened by the thought that someone has my back and can be counted on to help me if I am ever in a tough situation.
    I agree with Hannah that everyone needs different things to be happy. It reminds me of this one saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure". To be happy I need good times with family and friends, and a chance to make my impression on the world.
    The thing that should drive us to happiness tend to be the happiness of others. When I help out others, it makes me happy that I was able to do just a small thing that might make their day a little bit more comfortable.
    Money is always a big factor in blinding people to true happiness. They become all jaded and, as Vivian said, they cannot see the beauty of what life has given to them.

    Is their a limit to happiness?

  4. A person is truly happy when they can go to sleep at night and not feel as though they have to get or change anything in their life. However, I also feel like a person can be happy without having the perfect life also. Happiness has a lot to do with mind-set and how someone perceives the world. Two people can go through the exact same situations, but only one may see the opportunity that arises or “the bright side.” I feel happy, even though I know there are plenty of things that I could improve on or change in my life. Being happy is about being content with what you have, when you have it. That being said, to be truly happy, I would not want anything more in my life, but to be temporarily happy, or at least content, I would just enjoy the things I have now, while they last.
    If I really look at what I need to be happy, stripped of all the fluff and cushioning, I see myself being content with friends and family. There are an infinite number of other things that also make me happy, but I do almost all those things with the people around me I love. I rarely remember the exact location a memory took place, but I can always visualize how I felt with whom in that moment.
    We should be pushed and motivated to be happy by what we want in life. If my mom tells me that I need to be a doctor to be happy, but I pass out at the sight of blood, I am not going to listen to her. However, if I love to travel and explore new cultures, I will know that will make me happy. You have to listen to what makes you happy and let that drive you toward your goal, not what someone else wants for you.
    We can be blinded from happiness by not following what we truly want. If I had this idea of happiness from what I saw or heard from others, I could never obtain happiness fully. In order to become happy, we need to block out strangers’ voices in our heads and just listen to our own. Other people and false images prevent us from becoming happy, even when they are trying to help.

    Are two people definition of happy ever exactly the same, or does happiness mean something different to everyone?

  5. I think that happiness comes from within. I think the happiest people are happy with themselves and their happiness isn't based on the things that surround them. I think outside forces have some effect but I think happiness is truly a choice and comes from within oneself. To be happy I think you need love. You need to love yourself, love what you have, love those around you and give that love to the world. I don't mean just romantic love but the kind of love and caring that is contagious. The kind of love that if given to those around you will surely come back. I believe that you emit positivity and kindness to those around you then they will want to give it back. I think this is what should push us. Not the idea that people will give it back but the idea that if you are caring to everyone around you then they will feel that too and become happier. I think that if we strive to make the world around us better and make the people around us happier then we will be happy with ourselves. We shouldn't be focused on how the world will make us happy, we should find some joy within ourselves and then spread it to the world. I think material objects and money blind us from being happy. The want for social status and acceptance fools us into buying and doing things we not actually believe in. The pressure to be successful can overtake what a person truly values. We spend our lives trying so hard to fit what our parents, friends and peers want us to be that I think we sometimes forget what we ourselves want. Again, I think happiness is a choice and comes within. It shouldn't be based on what other people think.

    Do people, moments or accomplishments make us the happiest? Why? What specifically about these things makes us happy?

  6. Anything in life can make a person happy. It all depends on the individual.
    You don’t need anything to be happy. Except the world and a mind. If you were floating in a blank white space without a thought of your own, you couldn’t really have happiness could you?
    Ourselves should drive and push us, as only we can ultimately decide what we do.If you let someone or something else drive and dictate your life, you aren’t really living a freely.
    I think working can often blind people from happiness. When you’re working really hard, you often just focus on working and achieving your current work goal, not focusing on whether you are truly happy or not. I also think negativity kills happiness with a fiery passion because in a life filled with negativity, nothing can go well, nothing can truly make you happy.
    Vivian: Does wanting happiness blind people?

  7. I think that happiness has a lot to do with knowing ones potential. That feeling when you wake up in the morning and you know that you could discover something new, or even make the world a better place. It is an optimistic outlook on life in which a person sees the glass as half full and the ways it can be filled.
    A dream is what happiness thrives on. Goals and aspirations are a necessary part of human nature. This is why a garbage man can be one of the happiest people, because he has something to believe in. A rich business man however, may have reached the top of the corporate latter and has no where else to go. How happy do you think he is being stuck? At first, he may trick himself by throwing money and fame into his face but material goods cannot replace true happiness. Sooner or later he realizes that there is a hole in his life and he must find a new dream to fill it with if he ever wishes to re-achieve happiness.
    This drive gives people courage, hope, strength they never knew existed until they wanted something so badly that they had to put all of their effort into it and pray that hard work would pay off in the end. This is the true root of happiness.

    Can people's ideas on what makes them happy change while they are pursing it?

  8. Happiness is not something that has the same meaning for everyone. I don't think that there is a specific trigger for happiness, it truly depends on the person. The world see's happiness in many different forms and places. My happiness may have nothing in common with another's happiness. After traveling down to Belize, I witnessed first hand happiness in places you would never except it. Some of these kiddos had abuse, drugs, and alcohol and so much more involved in there lives yet; they showed me true happiness in everything they did. They tend to overlook the faults in life and just live to be happy. I also don't think there are many specifics in what is needed to be happy except for love. Love can come in many forms such as family, spouse, love for an activity, a place, but some type of love. What should drive and push us is what we want. It should not be what our parents, friends, or family want; but what we want to give us our own happiness. From personal experience, I can say that happiness can be blinded by trying to please those around us. I have learned that we cannot make others happy around us if we are not happy.

    Can we cure the bad things in life by handling them with Happiness?

  9. I agree with Jonny. Happiness is a personal interpretation; for each person there is a different ‘type’ of happiness. This could mean that if material possession truly make someone happy than that is happiness for them. I never believed in the saying ‘money can’t buy happiness’. If a house in a safe neighbor hood and food on the table happiness for someone, then money does buy happiness. From person to person we cannot judge other’s ideas of happiness; it is a personal reflection defined by personal events.
    For me, happiness lies in the events that my life is created through. Knowing people that have been affected by the recent fires made me think what I would do if I had ten minutes to grab everything I could and leave everything else to burn. What would I grab? Nothing materialistic comes first to mind; I would not want my jeans, shoes or dresses. But rather I would grab things from my walls, for example the racing numbers I have collected or a rosary that hangs over my bed, a picture of my friends and I. All of these things resemble more to me; they have meaning and stories behind them. You cannot repurchase memories. Materialistic things can be replaced but the past cannot.
    I cannot answer what ‘should’ drive and push us; I think that answer is what should not drive and push us. We are influenced by so many things from the media to home life. Everything can influence and later become a driving force in our lives. The way we interpret things is what will push us. The media is always frowned upon and is said to negatively influence youth, but if we changed our mind set and thought of media as a positive asset, it could become a positive driving force.
    Trying to become happy would be one of the most blinding elements. If you do things you love and be around uplifting, positive people, you will achieve happiness. Trying to achieve happiness will only make someone forget what their true happiness is. Being happy should come from the natural things one does rather than a forced activity.

    Can one be always sad or are they in denial of their happiness?

  10. I always believe that happiness comes simply from doing what you love and surrounding yourself with people that make you laugh. Happiness is something that most of the time, only comes when you make it for yourself. In order to be happy we need to know the simplisity of the enjoyable things in life and the basic needs that we require to be happy. We should get that drive and push from inside ourselves and from others that we choose to be around. Happiness should come from within ourself, because we have the most power to control ourself and the most impact on our feelings. Also, if chosen correctly, those around you should always be able to make you happier. I feel like the biggest thing that blinds us from being happy, is ourselves when we believe that something is horrible and isn't going our way. We make ourselves believe that it isn't something to be happy about and therefore we aren't. By convincing ourselves of this, we aren't as happy as we should be, is there a way to always think the best of things and keep yourself happy for the things you expirence?

  11. I think happiness results from living a life guided by your own decisions. If you are constantly living your life by your own rules and standards, you have only yourself to make happy. However, I think that once someone allows others to influence their actions and lead them onto a path that is not of their own making, they are not truly happy. When someone loses sight of who they are as a person, they cannot achieve full happiness because the life that they are living is not truly theirs. When a person participates in things that make them feel pleasure, joy, or true emotion, they can fully achieve happiness because their life means something to them personally--their life is not defined by someone else’s standards of what is important or meaningful in life.
    I think that I am still figuring out all that I need to be happy. Throughout my life, I have discovered things that have become a requirement for my happiness that I never thought would be. I think that what makes me happy has changed throughout my life: When I was younger, it was simply playing on the swing set in my yard, however, as my life has changed, it has become more complex.
    The feeling of contentment and inner peace while doing something you love is what should drive us. If your goal in life is to be something as normal as a doctor, or even something as crazy as a circus clown, no one should get in your way of achieving the happiness you feel while doing it.
    I think that other people’s expectations and guidelines usually blind us from achieving full happiness. I think that we allow other people to mask and alter our views of happiness too much and this makes us feel lost, confused, and sad. People instead need to try to stay true to themselves so that they can live a life that makes them happy and that they are proud of.
    Do you think that happiness can only be achieved through our own actions or do you believe that other people have a part in making us happy? Which should we rely on?

  12. I think that happiness is different for each person. It depends on their views, likes and dislikes, and personality. For some, happiness can be as simple as going to sleep after a satisfying workout. For others, it involves material things, such as a tv or a phone. In my opinion, you don't need anything to be happy. Maybe some things do make you happy, but you can still be happy without those things. Many people forget that they don't need material things in their life, and take the people that make them truly happy for granted. We should have the strength of mind to push ourselves, to reach for our dreams and goals. No one can live our lives for us, if we want to get what we want, we have to go out and get it ourselves. Material things in our lives can do the opposite of making us happy. The can take over our entire lives, and we forget what is really important. People focus all of their attention on material things, and live their lives in the same boring routine. The forget that work is not the most important thing, or that a bad grade is not the end of the world. While trying to make others happy, people are not taking enough time to stop and think about how much they have. Does everyone have a different limit to their happiness? Is one man's happiest moment more happy than another man's happiest moment? Why are some people more happy than others in the same situation?

  13. Happiness is really a personal journey of sorts for most. Because of the personal nature of happiness, it can really mean anything. Some people find happiness through other people, such as a spouse, family, friends, or even random strangers. Then there are others who find it in what they do, like the guy who surfed in the Happiness movie. Another big part of being happy is just being cool with what one has, being grateful and content with themselves. Religion can influence this too. I agree with Olivia when she says that being happy has a lot to do with perception of the world and their mindset. Someone with a positive outlook, who doesn't dwell on the past or hold as many grudges has a better chance at achieving happiness. So essentially, I think that all you really need is a positive outlook and a personal something to be happy. I think that just modern life can blind people and hinder happiness. Modern life, as in the need to make money at a mediocre so that their families aren't living in absolute squalor or the feeling of needing to compete with others to be the best.
    Can happiness ever really be defined if so many people have different ideas of what it means?

  14. Happiness comes from our passions and our interests. If we are involved and living with our passions we are happy. The people around us make us happy; my friends make me happy, as they make school more enjoyable and interesting. Happiness also comes from unpredictability; some people are happy because they live an open life that can take twists and turns at any moment. When we read about Daniel Suelo, the caveman, he was happy because his life was different and didn’t have a set daily routine. People often have trouble finding happiness because they witness the same activity over and over again. From the movie Yes Man a simple ‘yes’ can allow you to come out of your shell and try new things, which can ultimately lead to happiness.
    I agree with James on how he says happiness lies within our experiences. Usually our experiences stand out in our memories rather than what we got for our 11th birthday. I also like how James mentioned that “one man’s trash is one man’s treasure”, because it shows that happiness lies within the most unlikely of sources. In my childhood my parents have told me that “less is more” and you are happier with less. I learned that wanting more makes you greedy and shows that you are never satisfied with what you have.

    Do the bigger or smaller experiences stand out more in your memories?

  15. Money can't buy happiness, and yet those with jobs that pay the most are often cited as being the happiest people. Happiness comes from two things: perspective and genetics.

    One's perspective on his situation will dictate whether or not he will find joy from said situation. A child who is born rich will have a very high bar to meet. Being rich will not make him happy, as he is accustomed to being rich. To really be happy, he would have to find a different channel of meaning. However, one who is born poor would appreciate being rich much more, and thus be able to derive happiness from monetary success. In this case, I reject the notion that money does not buy happiness.

    This is called perspective. Variety is the spice of life, indeed. Happiness comes from reaching a goal in life. If that goal is money, then so be it.

    However, there is a side-note to this holy grail called happiness. It isn't a purely academic notion. Happiness comes from the brain, which ultimately is dictated by genetics. It is the way one is hardwired to think that will determine if they can really be happy. Unhappy people are naturally unhappy; likewise, happy people are naturally happy. It isn't up to those individuals' actions to make them happy, but rather how they were born. Happy people will find the silver lining in any situation, whereas unhappy people will only see the dark cumulonimbus cloud looming over their poorly constructed house.

    Most of us don't fit exactly into either category. Many people only have a slight tendency toward one emotion or the other, and that's where the perspective philosophy kicks in.

    Motivation ultimately comes down to happiness and influence. Greed, lust, ambition (or lack thereof), and even the tendency towards hedonism all come from this notion.

  16. I believe that the key to happiness is tolerance of life. I always hear people complain about their problems and I don’t understand why it upsets them. Everyone has problems; you just have to decide whether or not it is going to affect your mood. With all of life’s twists and turns, you never know what is going to happen next. I’ve found that as long as you have a few things to keep you going, you can be happy. I think that one reason why people think money leads to happiness is because one cause of happiness is success. The want and need to be successful should motivate us to push ourselves farther than we thought possible. We would be creating a new and better person out of ourselves. However, with success come power and that hunger for power can blind us from true happiness. Money and power can lead to artificial happiness full of fake friends and useless objects. People who aren’t as well off as others tend to be happier because they have worked hard for their money and succeeded. Overall, I believe that happiness is a choice. You can choose to let problems get to you or you can grow from them. You can choose to turn your own success into artificial happiness for power or you can enjoy what you have and always keep improving yourself.

    Is it easier to be happy rather than sad or angry?

  17. To me, happiness is all about how you view things. Believe it or not, your own attitude has a huge role in how things play out for you. Waking up thinking of a negative day ahead is much more likely to produce a negative day. Waking up with a positive mindset, or at least some hopes for a positive day, will easily set you down the right path from the get-go. To be happy, one needs positive relationships with family and friends, a positive outlook on life (like mentioned before), and goals to reach that will increase your happiness when achieved. Out of all of these, I believe the most important is that of positive relationships. If you surround yourself with people that arent of your personal picking, but people picked by others (for a better "social status) you will not be happy. If you surround yourself with true friends that actually care, that actually give a d*** about your life, then you will be happy. Relationships are what fuel us, what surround us. Without them, we have no connection, relation (duh), or relativity to this world. The truth is, you can't go through life all on your own. Sometimes, you need others to lean on. If those "others" are unstable, then you'll fall. If stable, you'll be rewarded with a balence and greater trust of those people. Secondly, we need goals. Without a checkpoint to run towards in the future, one will easily turn to a lifestyle of depression, not knowing where they're going, or what their purpose is. Find something you love, do it, and most importantly get better at it. Personally, getting stuck at doing something I love to do just isn't as exciting as getting even better at it. Goals motivate us for the future, and the best part about them is the reward they give when completed. Happiness, self confidence, and even more determination to fulfill your destiny. Having hope for the future impacts your life in the present. Think about it. Whatever we're doing now, whatever we're focused on, is all about the future, all about what we're going to do.

    The one thing that obviously blinds us from becoming happy is money. Money is temporary happiness and the only time when it is not, is when money is part of your goals. I know from talking to Garrett and Griffen, that in the future they want major cash. Who doesn't? But thats part of the goals, something that will make them happy. If being extrememly successful means making bank, then there's not a problem. However, for those of us who like money (me), and decide to put it before our passions thinking that it will pay off in happiness are headed down the wrong track. Money will buy anything but it won't buy the solution to your goals.

    To sum things up; Happiness is doing what you love, with or around the people you love, acheiving the things you desire, and having personal positivbe goals and outlooks for the future. So class, if happiness is this easy to achieve, why is it that some people "try" to be happy by filling these guidelines, and still fail?

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  19. Happiness is seeing my wiggly dog when I come home every day from school. It is taking walk at sunset during the summer, and helping others whenever possible. It is brought to me by doing the things I love most, and being with my family. However for someone else it could be something entirely different. Jenna said that it was a personal journey of sorts, and I couldn't agree more, it is achieved in different ways for different people.
    There is really nothing needed to create happiness other than the right attitude, as Joe said, it is all about perspective. Standards are different for each person, and what makes one person happy, could mean absolutely nothing to another. If someone has grown to appreciate the people and things within their life, I would guarantee that they would be more happy than someone who takes everything for granted. I feel that happiness often stems from gratitude, and a reason why so many people find themselves sad is because they lack this.
    The driving source behind pursuing happiness should be the desire to do, and achieve the best for ourselves. I do not mean that we should all pursue a future as multi-millionaires, just that we should seek happiness because we respect ourselves enough to do so. That we care enough about our health to try and find the things that bring us the most joy in life, because without it, what else is there?
    Money often blindfolds people in their search for happiness. Material goods have often been the portrayal of happiness, however the joy they bring is temporary. People are consumed by their hunger for this and lose focus on the things they cherish the most. The things we are most passionate about are the only things that can bring us true joy and happiness.
    Do people consciously choose to be sad rather than happy? How much do we alter and control our emotions?

  20. Happiness for me means living a successful life and enjoying myself while I do it. It means helping others, not just myself. Happiness is making the most out of little moments in life that no one else will ever remember, like acing a test or beating a rival in volleyball. In order to be happy in my life, I need a roof over my head and people that will support my ambitions. It would be very interesting to live life as a homeless person and as a rich person; sometimes I wonder which is happier. Money can’t buy happiness; it’s about how far a dollar can stretch and what meaning each dollar has. What drives me is always finding success. I want to go to a good college, get a good job, get married and have kids that I know I can provide for because I worked hard earlier in life. Honestly, the things the push me most are both fear and hope for the future. I will work hard for today so that I will have a life full of happiness tomorrow. What may blind me from being happy is this obsession for perfection. When I do not achieve my goals, especially regarding grades and athletics, I do not console in the fact that I tried my best; I push harder. Living for the happiness and success in the future does blind my happiness in the present. Instead of living in the moment, I wake up and can’t wait until the moment when I fall back into bed, exhausted. Without sadness, there is no joy, and pain is only temporary. When happiness is the goal, what will ever stop us from achieving it? Do you think our quest for happiness sometimes makes us most unhappy because we are living for the future, not the happiness of today?

  21. After reading Olivia's response, I have to admit I teared up a bit. This is due to the fact that I am sleepy and weepy at the moment. The late hour causes my eyes to wilt as happiness causes them to water. I find myself crying mostly when I see or feel happiness. This only started happening recently and I believe it is because I have not been truly happy until recently. Elaboration on that to come. In response to Olivia's question, I believe happiness is different for everyone. I agree with her when she said everyone thinks differently and some people choose to make the best of their situations while others still cannot seem to find the bright side. Different things make different people happy and it is rarely exactly mirrored from one person to the next.
    In all honesty, I think happiness is solely related to primitive brain function and love. These could be considered very similar ideas but are extremely different when put into context. Pleasure (which can be considered less advanced brain function) can constitute happiness because it makes your body feel all nice and warm. On the other hand, things that should normally be pleasurable (like a delicious steak) may not be this way if one does not have some sort of love in their system to begin with. If there is no appreciation or love for the delicious steak or if one is depressed whilst eating, they are not generally happy with such a fabulous meal. Many people put too much pressure on the word, "love". The truth is, love is serious. Seriously simple. It ranges from love of the feeling you get while eating something sweet to love of a person to love of one specific moment in time. It causes people to be happy because it sticks with you forever and makes you realize life can be simply peachy when you allow it to be.
    Everyone needs something that allows them to go inside themselves and feel genuinely happy. It needs to be something that can give you goosebumps and make you shiver with fulfillment. Some people turn to sports and cardio. Others turn to the arts: music and painting and the like. Some simply turn to friends in order to find happiness. However, everyone needs SOMETHING! Sitting there, letting the music surround my (for lack of a better word) soul and just retreating into my mind makes me incredibly happy because it is only there that I can retreat into myself and feel at peace with whatever horrifying things happening in life. To be happy, people need to learn to deal with sadness and find a way to connect with themselves.
    Fear of losing what makes us happy should not be the thing that drives us. That is bad motivation. Negative motivation can only lead to a negative outlook. Instead, the idea that anyone can achieve happiness should push us through life. Happiness is a solid goal to work for. If the poorest of people can get there, anyone can.
    Blindness can come from pessimism. I understand that some people are "programmed" to be naturally unhappy. But to become happy these people need to take a look at everything good that has happened in their lives. I'm sure there in a boatload of things they could think of. The refusal to see the good causes a blindness to anything one loves and makes life not worth living.
    As a side-note, everyone needs to indulge sometimes. If getting crazy or spending a lot of money or eating a lot of food can make a person happy once in a while, then they should do it. There's no use in holding out.

    How can two similar people see the same world so drastically differently?

  22. The simple idea of "happiness" is universal, for can be experienced through small everyday experiences as well as large accomplishments. Happiness is not an object that can be transfered or bought, it is found within oneself when one feels self worth. Outside forces such as social status does not constitute to the level of one's happiness if one is content with themselves. An individual living in poor conditions has the same capacity to feel happiness as a rich man. True happiness comes from feeling accomplished despite what others think, which is why there is not some physical object one needs to be happy. Happiness is simply a mentality one must be in. For some, it might be positive thinking, or an activity that puts them in a mental state of happiness. But, just because one is happy does not mean that they have an easy life. Happy people can also be those who have overcome hardships and value their privileges. This leads to the one and only "pursuit of happiness", which should be a driving force in ones life. It does not mean that a person is always happy, to me it means that even through difficult times, one strives for something better. The idea of there being something better should be what pushes humans to "peruse happiness". Personally, my happiness comes from being the best in whatever I do, everything is a battle and a competition. School, soccer, siblings... whatever it may be I know that my happiness will come when I know I did everything I could to excel and never settling for anything less. In addition, my happiness does not always come form a positive attitude because being negative pushes me to improve on my flaws. In contrast, the fear of failure creates a blinding factor in one's happiness. This creates a false perception of happiness where people will just settle for less than what they deserve. The lack of appreciation also causes one to ask for more than they need to fill an empty void. I see happiness as a mental perspective where everyday experiences are whatever you make of it and life is whatever you want it to be.

    Is happiness achieved when we least expect it?

  23. Happiness comes from a sense of complacency. We think that a different place, time, income or even identity will make us happier, when in reality the best kind of happiness comes from being thankful for the things we already have. To be happy is to accept that there are just some things that you cannot change, so you stop worrying about them. You need to stop longing for the greener grass on the other side, and realize that maybe your grass is just as green. Money, fame, and time all run out, but for some reason happiness is one of the things that we will always have with us, even if we bury it underneath the fears of the past and the worries of the future.
    In response to Jenna, I do not think that happiness can be defined because everyone has a different view of happiness. Some students wrote about how happiness comes from personal accomplishments, while others wrote that it comes from helping others. I think that no matter how you define happiness, we can all agree that it comes from somewhere inside of ourselves, not solely from the world around us.
    “Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” -Guillaume Apollinaire. What do you think this quote is saying? Do we need to succeed in some way to be happy, or can we be happy without success.

  24. I believe that happiness comes from interactions and relationships. These things can vary from person to person but many people find happiness with their friends and through sports. In order to be happy I need the opportunity to test myself. I like to see what I can do and if I can accomplish it I am happy. Competition is a big part of happiness for me because winning makes me feel good and losing makes me want to work harder to become happy again. I think that our dreams should push us because then we will do what we really want to. If someone else is puching us we are more likely to do what they want. The material world blinds us because it says if you don't have something then you cannot be happy.
    How does beating someone else make us feel happy or sad?

  25. I believe that what constitutes happiness varies from person to person. For some having fun might mean an adrenaline rush, for others it may mean relaxation. In the end though, I believe that happiness for all people is when they feel right in the place they are in or in what they are doing. To be happy you just need to be able to let happiness into your life. I think that many things can be found fun but people choose to make them not fun. For example, bungee jumping can be very fun and make you very happy, but some people convince themselves so much that they are so scared to do it that they leave no room for happiness to come into their life. I think you need an open heart and mind to really achieve happiness.
    What drives us to be happy should be the want to feel good. Happiness is a great sensation and the want for that feeling alone should be enough to push us toward having an open heart and mind to happiness. If we blind ourselves by shutting the door on potential opportunities for fun then we are losing out. We should let the motivation from feeling good push us to have a more open mind toward having fun.

  26. Happiness is an individual's outlook on the world. The way that we weigh the events happening in our lives determines how happy we truly are. I really enjoyed reading Savannah's comment about how happiness comes from within. She says that the happiest people learn to tune out their surroundings and not hang on life's every moment. Although she makes an excellent point, I believe happiness is achieved when one learns how to interpret the things around them and deals with the ebbs and flows of life in a way that is the most helpful to them. Obviously each person will have different ways of doing this, but my point is that once people learn how to let the outside world effect them and take what they want from each situation they will feel satisfied and content. This is very much like what Joe was saying. It's about perspective on life. Therefore, I also believe happiness is a state of mind. It is self powered and those who strive for it will achieve it. It doesn't come naturally, we have to shift our perspectives to find a balance within ourselves. In life we might find ourselves off balance and then have to shift it again. Its a constant balancing act as we grow up, move through life, and experience new things. This constant cycle should drive us to WANT to be happy and as soon as we feel ourselves drifting away, a new perspective must be mastered. Often times we are caught up in an experience where we are so hurt that we don't want happiness we just want relief. We want to let sadness consume us and dwell on a certain moment. These moments drive us to eventually seek a happy life once again and show us the power happiness plays on all aspects of our lives. Many times we are blind-sighted by happiness because we as humans believe good events and money will make us happy. When in reality, people have streaks of success and they find themselves lonely and lacking substance. In the end we realize life is a constant challenge and without that challenge piece we can't get the full effects of happiness.

    The last thing I want to mention is that I try to make God the biggest part of my life and I think God's words have a lot to add to living happily. Its through trusting him that we feel the most satisfied. When we give our lives to him and let him take the reins, we are fully content. This is very hard to achieve because we naturally seek control of our own lives, but when finally mastered, we are rewarded. One thing that sticks out in my mind is that we individually are the ones that have lied to, screwed over, cheated, and hurt ourselves more than any other person. Put God ahead of yourself and happiness comes naturally. TRUST is huge.

    How can happiness be deceiving? What are the effects of happiness on the world? Would happiness exist if sadness didn't?

  27. Happiness is the moment when people forget all their problems. Nothing matters but what is going on then and there. I agree with Joe when he says that happiness is all about perspective. Happiness depends on a person’s perspective throughout their whole life. If they see the best in every situation, or the worse. Nothing is needed to be happy. People who have everything and can buy whatever they please whenever they please are not necessarily happy. People who have nothing can also be happy. Just because they aren't rich doesn't mean they aren't happy. Being rich and having goods is a package deal. The more someone has, the less they have to gain. People who live a simple life with nothing and no modern societal problems can be just as happy if not happier than a rich person. The pursuit of happiness should drive and push us. Not money. Not fame. Not glory. Happiness. One can be the biggest and richest celebrity and the loneliest person in America simultaneously. The things that truly distract us from happiness is society. The hustle and bustle and everyday noise. These provide distractions and unneeded worry and stress.
    Would living in a third world country provide more happiness than a modern society?

  28. Whitney K:

    I believe happiness is a choice you make every day. When you wake up you can either consciously decide to be happy or to be sad. I know that life can sometimes be hard and that everyone deals with things that hurt them, but I strongly believe that anyone can overcome anything. Everyone goes through hard times but it is the people who do not allow themselves to be defined by those hardships that have true happiness. They fight to overcome the challenges in their life and learn to appreciate and be thankful for the good parts of their life. I think that what everyone needs to be happy in life is different. I personally need a loving family and friends and my faith. Those things give me strength and help me when times get tough. However, I think some people need other things in life to be happy. Even though money cannot buy happiness, I do think a lot of people think it can. And if people base their entire life on material things, then they will be unhappy when they do not have those things. I do not agree with them, but that is just how some people work. I think one part of life everyone needs to be happy is to have someone love them. Without love in one way or another, I do not think anyone can ever truly be happy. I think that in life what should push us forward is the desire to get better and to be a better person. And I think if you are doing what you love and what you are passionate about, you will be a better person. You will be a better person because you will be sharing your talents with the world. The world does not need more businessmen, scientists, or any other glorified job. The world needs people who are passionate about what they wake up each morning to do. That's when we will see a lot of happiness in the world. That is ultimately what distracts people from happiness. They are too caught up in getting the job that pays the best and living the "American Dream" that they don't realize that that isn't what will truly make them happy. Happiness can come out of many aspects of life. However, in the end I believe the happiest people in life are the ones who wake up and tell themselves that they are happy and that they can overcome any challenge they face. Happiness is a mindset not something you achieve by being the most "successful" person.

    Can a person's happiness be ruined by money and/or the pursuit of becoming wealthy?

  29. Happiness is a very unsettling and broad term for me. I think that it is carelessly thrown around and defined in ways that it shouldn't be because like many people have already said, happiness is different from person to person and your level and pereption of happiness is completely dependant on your past, present and future and how you view life. I have found that I am most happy when I am living simply and when I am most connected with those who I love and connected with God. I constantly surround myself with people who I know will not disresprect me, but who I also know are not false and will tell me the truth. I can comfortably say that I have the best friends and family in the world and I have lived a significantly happy life. Sure, there are bad events in the past that I have learned from but I realize now that no regret can ever change the past and therefore I must live in the present because all of my sins have been taken upon the cross for me already. My heavenly father ensures everyone that they will have eternal happiness by accepting His son into their hearts and that promise alone is enough for me to live and thrive on. My happiness is directly related to my outlook on life and the fact that I have experienced the greatest love of all that I pursue to share with whoever I can so they can experience the same happiness... in their own way. I am also a firm believer that happiness is highly contagious. A child's smile, tears of forgiveness or sympathy, a wave, a hug or kiss, a song on a mid-summer day, a cry of joy, a plea of confession, all of these things are the simplest joys of life that can fuel happiness and passion like no other.

    The only thing that I think can drive you to be happy is yourself. We have so many resources, impact, power and authority in our own lives as well as others that we often do not recognize or acknowledge. Also, many times, this power or imfluence is used the wrong way which results in extreme unhappiness or depression and longing for something more. If only people could take a step back and realize how strong they are just standing by themselves and how content they could be in their own skin.

    As technology has advanced, the idea of happiness and the American Dream has been drastically changed by the abundace and opportunity we are surrounded with. People doubt their own power and radiance and succumb to lies that the media and the rest of the world promote. Such factors blind people from happiness and the accessability they have to it.

    Why are people so dependant upon others for their own happiness and success?

  30. I believe that happiness can be found in the little things in our lives. People who can find the happiness in the little things will be happier than those who must have million dollar homes and hundred-thousand dollar cars to be happy. All people need to be happy is the appreciation for life itself. When you value each moment of life you will find happiness. The short time we have on earth should motivate us to be happy. A life without happiness is a life gone to waste. It is scary to think that I might waste my life caught up in the rat race, and that my happiness would be nearly nonexistent. What would be the point of a life without happiness? However, I have found that happiness is much easier to find than most would believe. Appreciate that fresh spring air in the morning on your way to school or your favorite soundtrack playing in the background as your homework is being done. Happiness can be found in even the direst situations. Those who know how to find happiness in the darkness are the people who will be happier in life. When people focus on the bad then it prevents them from being happy. Everyone has bad situations in life and those who are absorbed in the negatives will be blinded from the positive. They will miss out on all the happy moments that life has to offer. We cannot, however, focus too much on being happy. If we try to hard it becomes work. And when is the last time anyone enjoyed work?
    Is hard work a key to happiness?

  31. I need nothing but a positive attitude to be happy. It seems silly, but several studies have found that positive attitudes lead to more energy, more respect, attainment of goals, and in turn, happiness.
    There is a fine line in this world between pursuing happiness and being narcissistic. I am a perfect example of someone who will often push their own agenda in pursuit of personal happiness rather than seeking other opportunities to attain the same personal joy. This is one example of a fine line that if crossed, could blind us from becoming truly happy. Another potential obstacle in obtaining happiness is doing something we hate in hope of a positive outcome. For example, a common piece of advice is to "do what you love." Whether it be a career or pursuit of a dream it is of utmost importance to be passionate about what you do.

    What does God envision for our happiness?

  32. Happiness in life to me means a great support system of family and friends. Throughout my illness this year if I didn't have my loving and supportive family and friends I would never have been able to have the strength I needed to power through the hard times and keep going through this illness. Without love and comfort I don't believe you can be happy because those are the things that make life worth living. Experiencing new things and finding new people who will love as well support you should drive your happiness in life because it is something that will always fulfill you even if you are struggling in life. Hardship and tragedy can cause us to lose sight of the happiness we have and the happiness we may have in the future because it only allows us to see the bad parts of life not the good.