Topics: Positive psychology, Happiness, Consumerism Pages: 7 (2493 words) Published: December 3, 2013

Happiness Over Everything
As a human, we all have many natural instincts. These instincts could be divided in to instincts of survival, procreation, and worship. One of the most interesting instincts under survival that we have is desire for happiness. Our evolution has given us two meanings of happiness, and we constantly “work” hard to achieve these types of happiness. According to the article, “Enjoyment as an Alternative to Materialism,” written by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, she states humans have “two contradictory motivations: pleasure, which is the well-being we feel when we eat, rest, and procreate; and enjoyment, which is the exhilarating sensation we feel when going beyond requirements of survival”(Csikszentmihalyi1). Both of these traits reward us with happiness that we desire. However, pleasure is the happiness that does not last long, and individuals who seek pleasure as main reason for living are not going to grow beyond what the genes have programmed them to desire (Csikszentmihalyi2). Unlike pleasure, enjoyment is not always pleasant, and it can be very stressful at times (Csikszentmihalyi2), and this is why people don’t choose enjoyment over pleasure although enjoyment is the true and lasting happiness we can achieve. In order to achieve happiness, people need to learn how to enjoy little things, go beyond their limit, and achieve their meaningful goals.

So why exactly do people choose pleasure over enjoyment? According to Csikszentmihalyi, pleasure is motivation that makes us look for material resources to improve the quality of life, and after all, these are scarce and everyone wants them (Csikszentmihalyi1). Pleasure is the satisfaction we get and achieved by very little amount of effort. On the other hand, enjoyment is not always pleasant, can be very stressful, requires more effort, and their rewards are often delayed (Csikszentmihalyi2). For example, a mountain climber may be close to freezing to death, exhausted, and in danger of falling down the mountain, but this climber would not be anywhere else. The rewards that this climber gets are possibly the achievement of climbing to the top and the enjoyment of the view. And “at the moment it is experienced, enjoyment may be physically painful and mentally taxing, but because it involves a triumph over the forces of entropy and decay, it nourishes the spirit, and this builds memories that enrich lives in retrospect, and gives confidence for facing the future”(Csikszentmihalyi2). Happiness is achieved by going beyond us; yet, people try to achieve happiness without any effort. The reason why people are so attracted to pleasure is because we live in a society where we are married to work. Since people are tired from work, they would rather choose pleasure, which requires less effort than any other enjoyable activities. In Csikszentmihalyi studies using the experiential sampling method, a person was happier when playing basketball or playing the piano than watching TV. However, this person spent 15 times as many hours watching TV than doing active leisure. Reason for this is because turning on a TV set, by contrast, is very easy and therefore attractive when one feels tired (Csikszentmihalyi2). TV could also attract people who just wants a simple laughter overall. Besides the happiness booster activities, what people work for, and what they do also attributes to their happiness. According to Csikzentmihalyi, “The issue is not so much what one does but how one does it”(Csikzentimihalyi3). If a person who has positive attitude towards what he does, than his daily routine job will become a daily enjoyment. This type of person, who enjoys his job, will always look forward to going into work for new challenges, and just because he loves his job. This kind of enthusiasm will transform boring work to an enjoyable experience. Finding enjoyment from any activity a person does is called flow. This flow can be explained by people getting carried away by an outside...
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