The pursuit of happiness is so often associated with material wealth, social status and the consumer trappings of success.
The Tick Box List
I’ve noticed that for many men their measure of success is gauged by a formidable tick box list. This list usually includes, in random order:
- A good job
- Financial security
- A great house
- A good car
- Great schooling for the kids
- Healthy, happy kids and partner
- A few good mates
Do you have the same list?
As consumers it’s easy for all of us to get seduced by the marketing world which so expertly taps into our inherent fear of failure, inadequacy and keeping up with whoever!
We are led to believe that success is about the latest gadget, fashion item, or the seeking of positive, immediate gratification and feel-good shiny products and services.
Now there’s a cynical view if ever I heard one!
Tick these boxes and life should be pretty good? Right?
There is nothing at all wrong with setting goals and achievements in life.
However, my concern is how such measures of happiness or success creates great suffering.
I meet many, many, guys who find the enormous amount of hard work required to tick off their list carries so much weight of expectation and often unrealistic goals that stress turns into depression, anxiety and physical health problems.
The provider within
Many blokes carry the weight of their role as provider and protector of their family. This may not be a role given or explicitly negotiated with their partners by the way. It’s often self imposed.
Nevertheless, at this time of year fatigue kicks in, combined with the relentless pursuit of a festive season full of joy. It can be the tipping point into burn out.
How happy are you?
I am impressed by the country of Bhutan, a tiny, remote kingdom nestling in the Himalayas between India and China.
They have developed an annual Gross National Happiness (GNH) survey where the population fill out a questionnaire examining 9 domains of life. These domains include the following:
- Psychological Wellbeing
- Standard of Living
- Good Governance
- Communal Vitality
- Cultural Diversity and Resilience
- Use of Time
- Ecological Diversity and Resilience
It appears the good people of Bhutan have been increasing their happiness levels incrementally over the last five years.
I really like the holistic nature of examining so many life domains. The government of Bhutan have embraced a whole of life approach to measuring happiness.
How do you measure your level of happiness and fulfilment?