Analysis Of Jonathan Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis

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What is “happiness” and how is it obtained? The word “happiness” is defined as
‘a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy’. The decisions people make on a day-to-day basis are to reach the ultimate goal of being happy. While everyone strives to obtain happiness, not everyone succeeds. In today’s society, happiness seems to be directly correlated with factors such as wealth or status. People place so much esteem on collecting material goods, whether it be clothes and shoes, the latest iPhone, or the nicest car. However, being happy does not depend solely on material goods. Many other factors including mental health and sense of self can also make a difference in one’s
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True happiness comes from being able to accept oneself and stand up for yourself, not letting other’s thoughts and opinions deter your from what you enjoy. My personal struggle with identity and the pressure to live up to expectations have created divisions in myself that have shaped who I am as a person. In Jonathan Haidt’s The
Happiness Hypothesis, he discusses the causes for the way humans act and introduce methods to improve their satisfaction. Reflecting on my experiences through the lenses presented by Haidt in his novel, I have utilized some of his ideas as a springboard in developing my own happiness hypothesis.

Growing up, I struggled to accept my identity as an Asian-American. I still remember the first time I directly faced discrimination for being Asian. It was in the 5Lh grade, one day when my sister, Tonya and I were walking from school to the
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Oftentimes people will invest so much of their time and energy to achieving fiJture happiness by working long hours at work to make more money and meet the criteria that society deems “successful” or
“accomplished”. But by doing so, they miss out on things around them forget to live and enjoy the present. As Haidt says, “It really is the journey that counts, not the destination”
(Haidt, 84). By focusing on what might come in the future, people pass by the opportunities that appear every day, which lead me to wonder what will happen when they finally reach the get to the point they’ve been striving to get to. Will they finally be happy? According to Haidt, people will never be content with what they have at any given point and time in their lives, which he calls “the progress principle”. It describes how people work each day in hopes of eventually achieving something great, but when they finally succeed the sense of happiness they experience is fleeting “then we succeed, and if we’re lucky we get an hour, maybe a day, or euphoria. . .my first thought is seldom
‘Hooray! Fantastic!’ It is ‘Okay, what do I have to do now?” (Haidt, 83). While

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