Happiness is Excitement

What Is Happiness?

Since the beginning of time, maybe even earlier, many extremely intelligent human beings have been trying to figure out how to answer this question. To Socrates, happiness is what all people desire, that everything we do can be ultimately broken down to the goal of achieving the feeling of happiness - “since it is always the end goal of our activities, it is an unconditional good.” William James believed “happiness is created as a result of our being active participants in the game of life.” And Aristotle said - "Happiness is a state of activity."

 “When you see someone who is genuinely excited, look at the expression on their face and what do you see. Most likely you see the look of happiness.”

Happiness is not a thing, or a destination, it is a feeling. But it is more than just a feeling, it is the feeling we get from an experience. Not just any experience, but the experience of being in a state of flow. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, flow is “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.” This state of flow leaves us with a feeling of excitement known as a peak experience.

Happiness cannot be sought or bought, it is just something that happens. It is something that happens when we are in the act of accomplishing something. Maybe something that we have never done before, or something that we are striving to do better. Happiness comes via achievement or discovering something great about ourselves that we didn’t think existed. 

Happiness just happens, and when it does we become a little bit better person from the experience, whether we realize it or not. And while that feeling of happiness is fleeting, and our memory of the encounter may fade, we can rest at ease knowing that the experience has played a little part in shaping us into who we are and who we are yet to become.