What is happiness? Can anyone define it? Does it mean different things to different people? Why are we after education, a degree in engineering or medicine, a good job, a charming and good wife, nice children, perfect health and many more? Because we believe that these would give us happiness. What all we do is ultimately for acquiring happiness. We will not do anything that brings unhappiness unless it is a means to final happiness. A garbage cleaner though does an unpleasant job hopes he will get happiness through the income he earns very much like the industrialist manufacturing goods for increasing the wealth of the company and through it the happiness. The objective is the same
What makes one happy need not necessarily make another happy. It varies. While fame and name makes someone happy, obscurity makes one spiritually inclined more satisfied. It means different things to different people. It is difficult to have a uniform definition of what makes one happy or have a device to measure happiness. Happiness is subjective, a state of mind and never the same at all times. A cup of hot coffee on a wintry day gives more happiness than the same cup on a hot and sultry day. Even on identical conditions the outcome may be different at different times.
Sometimes the choices that we make thinking it would bring happiness may not really fetch it. Like changing jobs with more income or shifting to a bigger home in a newer location or making new friends-these do not guarantee happiness and may even result in a desire to revert to old situations. Even making more money does not make one happy as money beyond a threshold point has diminishing returns. The comfort level that money can buy stops at some stage. But if you give away the wealth for bringing comfort to larger number of people, earning more gives happiness. It is really not the money that gives happiness but what we do with it. Likewise it is not the job we do that matters but how it makes others better and through it brings greater mental satisfaction. The bottom line for sustained happiness beyond the initial satisfaction is what we do for others for the larger good, even for our family, than what we do for ourselves.
We cannot also measure happiness. It is varying from time to time, individual to individual, place to place and so on. “Joy has nothing to do with material things, or with man's outward circumstance...A man living in the lap of luxury can be wretched, and a man in the depths of poverty can overflow with joy.” It is for each individual to identify what brings happiness to oneself without causing unhappiness to others and pursue the same. But one thing can be said with reasonable certainty. Happiness is contagious. If we mix with happy people, our mind also gets directed to ways of deriving happiness. Negative people bring misery. Happy people do better in their work, more welcome any where, more law abiding and are better members of family and society than the sulking ones. Happy people generally have worthy goals that make others happy.