Don’t worry…be happy?

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Krist Muñoz-Malavé, Staff Writer

For the last couple of weeks I’ve made it my goal to find out what the students and staff of Seneca do to lead a happy life, and I did so by asking one simple question: What do you think constitutes to living a happy life?

The answers I received were on both sides of the scale, from funny to thoughtful and cheery to dark, but what I did find was that people as a whole categorize happiness into one of three ideologies.

The first of these beliefs was “happiness as a force of nature.” This particular group of people views happiness to be an uncontrollable force like the weather.

The following responses reflect their views on happiness. The first person stated, “Be happy with who you are and the well-being of my family.” He seemed to gain happiness by focusing on what he had. The next person responded, “Be content with who you are” and found his happy place by being happy with himself. The last person said, “Make the best out of what you get,” and looked at the way to happiness as a journey of acceptance.

As one can see, this particular view of happiness has these people believing that to be happy one has to accept that unfortunate things happen in life and that we cannot do anything about them except to accept them. Meanwhile, the second group of people saw happiness as an “everyday choice” to make.

Like I did for the prior group of people, I collected three examples of quotes that portrayed this idea. First was, “The only way to be interesting is to actually be interesting,” which talks about taking the initiative to make yourself something that makes you happy. The second response was, “Wake up every morning and choose to be.” This idea to choose to see things positively is ingrained. Finally, “Do what makes you happy.” This quote inspires us to be happy and to go out and simply be happy with what you do.

Now, which of these two ideologies so far are correct? Clearly, there is no wrong or right answer. Whatever it is that makes every individual happy is the correct answer.

However, there was one incredibly significant factor that I noticed as I went around and asked people what I found to be an almost intrusive question. Most people I asked were still searching for the answer themselves. For a while, I thought nothing of it, until one night I sat down to watch a movie, Hector and the Search for Happiness directed by Peter Chelsom, which was based with the same topic I planned on writing about. What is it that one has to do to live a happy life?

As the movie progressed, I found myself once again noticing that those who searched for happiness were often the people not living life where true happiness is to be found. So through the process of interviewing those people I did not necessarily find one singular answer to happiness, but what I did find was what one can do to find their own answer. That would be to stop looking for an answer and start living. It is better not to concern yourself with the pursuit of happiness, but instead with the happiness of pursuit.