In Pursuit of Happiness

I was sent the following infographic from TopCounselingSchools.org, and I decided to share it with all of you.

Infographics are kind of fascinating to me. They lay out statistics in a way that makes it easier for people to grasp. The better ones do it without pushing an agenda too much. In this particular one, what jumps out at me is the difference between the US rating of life satisfaction at 7 verses Switzerland at the top of the heap at 7.8. I know I’ve said before that the US should be looking at the top 3 nations in the world for happiness when it comes to improving life here, but if you really think about that, it’s the difference between a C- and a C+ grade, which is still only satisfactory. There are no nations in the world with above-average life satisfaction for the majority.

So what does that say? Is it a reflection that our modern lives don’t allow us to be more satisfied no matter where we are? Or is it a reflection on our human nature, that we will never be truly satisfied? And does the lack of satisfaction drive us to pursue our goals or make us more unhappy, or is it a delicate balancing act between the two?

Another thought – it is thrown around that humans should “follow their bliss” to live happy lives, which is kind of a parallel to Thomas Jefferson’s mention of “the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. We humans may be more satisfied in life if we focus on the action of those phrases and if we learn to build societies and governments that give us the room to follow and pursue, instead of feeling trapped. It’s not enough to just look at the micro of the individual or the macro of society, but to change both, in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on happiness and satisfaction in life?

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