Happiness – What makes you happy? How do you define it?

The old chestnut. This morning, when taking my eldest (16 years old) for this morning shift at the local farm, he asked me: “Dad, do you believe money can bring happiness?”

“Well”, I replied. “No, however, it can contribute to happiness somehow!”

Even though our opinions differed, we had an interesting conversation about it.

What do you believe?

Can money bring a feeling of good factor to you?

Should we define happiness first with a different meaning for different people?

Let us look at the definition so that we all sing the same tune and maybe understand it.

The definition of happiness (Oxford English Language, Online edition) is the state of being happy. Not quite what I was expecting, so when looking a little further. The more helpful definition of happy (Oxford English Language, Online Edition) is feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.

That is better, do you agree?

So, it is the state of feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. We can bring together a few essential points about happiness from this definition.


Dad, do you believe money can affect happiness?

It is a state of mind, not a trait; in other words, it is not a long-lasting, permanent feature or personality trait but a more passing, changeable state. But, again, this echoes what I was trying to explain to my son; spending money, for example, is short-lived.

Happiness is associated with pleasure or contentment, meaning that satisfaction is not confused with joy, ecstasy, bliss, or other more intense feelings.

Happiness can be either feeling or showing, meaning that happiness is not necessarily an internal or external experience but can be both.

Now we better grasp how the Oxford English Dictionary defines happiness. Yet, this definition is not the be-all and end-all. The purpose of joy is not a “settled” debate and will go on forever.

Like many 16-year-olds, my son believes money is the root of happiness, and I am sure some of you can relate. But let’s remember that we are only starting to develop and process feelings at that age. From this, and now backed up with a decent definition above. I truly believe that happiness is a mindset. My work empowers professionals, changing their mindsets to achieve their desires. When I help someone, and they reach this, it makes me feel happy and has nothing to do with money or status. This plays a role in my life satisfaction.

Let me expand on this.

Are we happy all the time? Are the same things making us happy all the time? Well, the answer to this is no! To experience and feel satisfied, we need to feel other emotions too. How do you know you are so glad if you never experience sadness, resentfulness, emptiness etc.? Likewise, something that made you happy 5, 10, 15 or 20 years ago will not have the same effect on you today or tomorrow. Here is the difference between fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. Positive psychology research suggests that time spent with family, friends, or other social relationships increases mental health and, therefore, a sense of happiness.

Our feelings and direction change as we evolve, grow, and develop. This is more so prominent nowadays than it was, let’s say, a decade ago. Sometimes, we spend too much time juggling positive and negative emotions to be happy that we miss the happiness we are experiencing. External factors prevent us from experiencing the joy we care for and miss the moment completely. I remember the older generation saying they were happier at our age. I think this is another debate, to be honest, but as I grow older, it seems to resonate.


It leaves me with the question my son’s question.

Happiness and fulfilment are within everyone’s grasp, sometimes just out of reach or sight. Understanding what works best for you is the first step in finding them more often. Sometimes, simple things can make a huge difference in how we feel about our mental and physical health. Many longitudinal studies show that our level of happiness and how people live are linked.

If you need help reaching happiness within yourself, finding different avenues to achieve, or refocusing your priorities, please get in touch. I would be more than happy to facilitate this with you.

I would also love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Why don’t you book a Discovery Call with me? 

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