If You Not Happy Now- Chances Are Retirement is Not the Answer to Finding It
Lately, there has been much discussion about happiness in books and media. The New York Times named Happiness: A History by Darrin McMahon, as one of the most notable books of 2006. The book traces what great thinkers from Aristotle to Thomas Jefferson have thought on the subject.
McMahon asserts that the book is more about the pursuit than attainment because you never get there. He sees happiness as something somewhat frivolous, that can only be pursued when basic needs such as food and security are met.
Recently on the Oprah Winfrey Show, a completely different view was presented by Dr. Robert Holden. Holden has written several books on the topic of happiness, most recently “Happiness Now”.
He suggests that those looking for happiness often don’t realize they already have it. Holden contends we have basic beliefs about life, and our perception gathers evidence to prove that our beliefs are right. So, an optimist believes good things can come from bad situations. In explaining happiness he applies the Law of Attraction, which says that as we increase our self-acceptance, we attract more happiness.
Stress and Burnout
So, with all the emphasis on happiness, I was somewhat surprised to read a recent CareerBuilder survey of 2,500 workers that said that more than half were under a great deal of stress and 77% feel job burnout. So, since a majority of workers spend the majority of their waking hours at work, it seems it would be beneficial to achieve the feeling of security that McMahon thinks is necessary to pursue happiness and even better to realize Holden’s contention that we may already have happiness.
For those unhappy in their current work situation, I always wonder what will happen when they retire.
Will their stress suddenly be gone and happiness suddenly be theirs? I think not. Happiness is something people need to learn to cultivate, whether they are working or retired. An optimist will sometimes be disappointed, but a pessimist always will.