Saturday, April 29, 2006

four types of happy

after reading one of my most visited blogs, i had to extract and analyze for myself. the blog quoted a psychiatrist’s categorization of people and how they deal with happiness.

1. the hedonist does things that make him happy today while giving little thought to the future or owning up to the negative consequences of his present actions.

2. the rat-racer foregoes happiness in the present and lives with the perception that he will achieve a big happiness payoff someday in the future.

3. the resigner has given up hope for happiness. he participates in activities that won't make him happy now or in the future.

4. the happy person practices activities that will make him happy both now and in the future.

four categories you say? i should just plop nicely into one of them and be on my way. so which one do i claim allegiance to?

1.) i know that when i was young i had the monetary hedonist attitude. $3.00 in my pocket meant $3.00 of candy in my hand just as soon as i could get to the closest store. come to think of it, in high school $20.00 in my pocket meant going to the movies and possibly the arcade beforehand. saving money for the future, just didn’t happen.
have i since reformed? i do not know. money doesn’t equate with happiness, so just because i blew all my cash as a kid, doesn’t mean i didn’t look towards the future or neglect to work in the present thus sacrificing future happiness. i studied hard in order to one day be accepted into a college. maybe i wasn’t a complete hedonist?

2.) ha! i’m 100% sure that i’m not a rat-racer. no matter what’s going on in my day-to-day, i’ll find some way to enjoy or revert to something happy. without a bit of happy here and there i don’t see the future ever becoming what i want –ultimately happiness.

3.) the answer to 2 and 3 show that i’m clearly not a resigner. although, i have had plenty of moments in life where i shared the perspective of a resigner. in my life i have taken plenty of risks, some turned out well, others not so well. the latter experiences prompted a few negative “hell, i give up” thoughts. john mayer captured these moments quite well:

“and if it ever gets bad
i mean really bad
i'll move to nova scotia
forget the life i had
i'll be up at 9 each morning
down by the shore
collecting things that fell off boats in storms
well ok so i might never
but it's nice to know the option's there” –this will all make perfect sense someday – john mayer.

4.) the happy person – hell, i’m happy right now. i called my mom today which makes me happy. i did my laundry today which will make me happy in the future (especially since i was so low on socks i went out and purchased 8 pairs – lovely how i work 2 blocks from costco!)

conclusion: the psychiatrist that came up with this is a floosey! life is a bit more complex that this. four categories is a bit better than “fear and love”, but still i don’t buy it. there’s more to happiness these days. money plays a role in happiness, friends, jobs, hobbies, location, family. each of these categories are attained differently. one may be a hedonist relationshipper, but a rat-racer money wise. both result in happiness, which category do they land?

finally, a bit off topic, but it’s been on my mind. ben franklin once said “content makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor” but isn’t he on the $100.00 bill?! was he discontent?


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