Response to “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy”
Please read the article by Smith and answer the questions thoughtfully and carefully, using evidence from the article as well as your own experiences to support and expand your answers.
1. Does Smith think that happiness is NOT something we should desire? Why or why not?
2. In paragraph 5 of the essay, Smith speaks of “overall well-being and life satisfaction.” What seems to be the relationship between “overall well-being and life satisfaction” and “happiness?” What is the relationship between “overall well-being and life satisfaction” and living a “meaningful” life?
3. As Smith notes in her article, Frankl wrote in Man’s Search …, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” What does this mean? Why is the widom of this statement significant?
4. Reread this passge, and then answer the question at the end of it:
According to Gallup , the happiness levels of Americans are at a four-year high — as is, it seems, the number of best-selling books with the word “happiness” in their titles. At this writing, Gallup also reports that nearly 60 percent all Americans today feel happy, without a lot of stress or worry. On the other hand, according to the Center for Disease Control, about 4 out of 10 Americans have not discovered a satisfying life purpose. Forty percent either do not think their lives have a clear sense of purpose or are neutral about whether their lives have purpose. Nearly a quarter of Americans feel neutral or do not have a strong sense of what makes their lives meaningful. Research has shown that having purpose and meaning in life increases overall well-being and life satisfaction, improves mental and physical health, enhances resiliency, enhances self-esteem, and decreases the chances of depression. On top of that, the single-minded pursuit of happiness is ironically leaving people less happy, according to recent research. “It is the very pursuit of happiness,” Frankl knew, “that thwarts happiness.”
Thinking of your typical interactions, do you believe that people in general are happy or unhappy in this day and age? Why? Why not? Positive or negative, can you provide examples from your experience that explain why you feel as you do?