Should happiness be earned? | INFJ Forum

Should happiness be earned?


Oct 27, 2009
Do we all have a right to be happy, regardless of what kind of actions we take, or should happiness be the exclusive domain of those who do "good"? As in, are hardworking, giving, and loving people? Would a person devoid of any of these qualities who nonetheless maintains their happiness and pride be morally corrupt?

please share your thoughts :)
If happiness is supposed to be earned then I demand an instruction manual!
NAI said:
If happiness is supposed to be earned then I demand an instruction manual!

Maybe thats part of the whole challenge?
I think people are justified in trying to be happy, but not justified for anything else. Yeah, even the cruelest, evilest, baby-eating dictator has the right to be happy (and sometimes by being a cruel, evil, baby-eating dictator), but they also have the rights to be held responsible for their actions, and I also has the rights to dislike what s/he did.

Loving, hard-working and generous people generally fulfilled that last two criteria by either not screwing up in the first place or doing other things to please others, so.... people generally aren't complaining about them.

If happiness is supposed to be earned then I demand an instruction manual!
...Not to be opposing but an instruction manual sounds a bit too fixed for me. Albeit I'm sure there's a lot of self-help books to ...somewhat fulfill that role, I think..?
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I think we have the opportunity to be happy, the ability to pursue it, and the privilege of having that want come true. Not sure if it should be earned though. the moment we start to say that everything should be earned is the moment life becomes a chore, a uphill battle, and nothing we do will ever be enough, because someone will always find some other reason why we still need to climb higher before we can get a drink of water.
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I think the people who don't do good not only don't deserve to be happy, but won't truly be happy anyway.

See here:

Dr. Peterson devised three sets of questions, one about pursuing and having the Pleasant Life, the other two about pursuing and having the Good Life or the Meaningful Life, and gave them to 150 adult volunteers. You can complete a questionnaire with all of these questions at His target was life satisfaction. He found that both the Good Life and the Meaningful Life were related to life satisfaction: the more Eudaimonia or the more Meaning, the more life satisfaction. Astonishingly, however, the amount of pleasure in life did not add to life satisfaction.

Not that I'm for smiting average behavior, it's just that there needs to be a reward for those who do good. And no, being rewarded in this regard doesn't cheapen the goodness of the act, at least not in my book.
really appreciate the responses guys, thankyou. i don't always say it, but i always read everyone's replies to my threads and value them highly :) makes me feel loved that people would take the time to read and compose a well thought out reply to some nonsense i've come up with- and it certainly helps me clarify my own position.

trifoilum: love your perspective on it. i'm leaning towards that too; that no matter how bad of a person you are or aren't, happiness should still be your right~ but that that wouldn't absolve you from taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions.

KazeCraven: thanks for the link :) makes sense (from an evolutionary point of view at least) that those who do good consistently would end up happier in some way - but then, how the heck would you measure happiness between individuals objectively?
I believe that everyone has the right to be happy and express their happiness, just like how everyone has the right to be sad and angry.

Should sadness be earned? No.
Should anger be earned? No.

They are personal rights that we have been born with and that we have the choice on how we use them.
Everyone has the right to be happy as long as their happiness is not at the expense of others.

Happiness depends on one's attitude though - do you see half a glass of water as half full or half empty?

I alternate between happy and unhappy. I've done enough on both sides of the karma line to be merely content.
"Each of us are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Words on a piece of paper do not necessarily make it so, or everone would believe the bible, or the koran, or the torah.
Words on a piece of paper do not necessarily make it so, or everone would believe the bible, or the koran, or the torah.

Neither do they make it wrong, lest we all should stop reading.
Doesn't need to be right in order to read it.
Lord of the Rings isn't Right, and yet we read that still.

It's entertaining fiction that we wish were real.
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@April: In this case, they are just talking about satisfaction and well-being, but I don't think happiness is supposed to be able to be objectively measured. I guess what I'm getting at is that true happiness is something reserved for those who do meaningful things (which will almost inevitably be good), but it's not something to be rubbed in the faces of those who choose not to pursue such a path.

Upon reflection, I suppose this is actually quite different from traditional ideas of 'doing good' as I don't think we can say that people who do good out of a feeling of guilt that they 'ought to' or who go with what people typically say is good (but who don't feel that themselves) won't necessarily be happy. I say that because I've done low-level community service work for several months and didn't get any happiness from doing it.
I forgo happiness many times for the sake of self-improvement.

Happiness is a mindset, not an external reward.

One thought that always comes to my mind, when I question the idea of happiness (and this is an exaggeration, but I tend to do that):

Whenever I think about happiness, I see how fleeting it is. You see it out of the corner of your eye, but as soon as you focus, it is gone. When I search for knowledge, or I seek improvement, I seemingly lose my ability to be happy. I get caught up in the trivialities, I let them affect me. It has been a long time coming; understanding that no one is responsible for my own feelings but myself.

To be happy, I have to allow things to be as they are; something the Tao Te Ching helped me with greatly. To learn acceptance and understanding while I am a ball of constant change.

How do you merge the two? Happiness and introspection. I don't think it is possible without introducing bias. Of course, if you are happy with how things are, then what is the point of introspection? I was happy when I drank (a lot) I really didn't care to learn more, nor did I care much about anything, my life was pretty hollow, but it wasn't very hard to make me happy.

Now I have all this clutter, philosophy, psychology, science, etc, etc. This clutter gets in my way of being happy. I get serious, concerned, passionate, and happiness is not my passion. The only thing that even closely resembles happiness is my bucket loads of cynicism I develop (more catered towards ironies and incompetence rather than general negativity), which is quite apparent at work.

Is it possible to merge a passion with happiness?

Am I wrong in defining happiness as a contentment with everything? And if one is content, then why seek change?

And if all I want is contentment, then why don't I just go get a damn lobotomy?
I don't think people have a right to be happy by any means necessary, or at an excessive expense of someone else's happiness. I don't think we should prevent people from attaining happiness by other means though, just because they aren't "good" people.

I've known some miserable people, who seemed to think that a right to happiness means that it should just come to them without having to work for it, and I don't think they are entitled to that either.
I think one of the biggest problems is that people don't have a freaking clue as to what actually makes them happy.

Whatever their primary motivator is, that is what they seek for happiness, because they can be content with the world for a while until their motivation kicks in again.

But one phrase that has been nagging in the back of my head this whole conversation:

"Whistle while you work."

Shitty job, happy guy. Mindset.

Should happiness be earned, or should it be learned (taught)?

Of course, as we all know, contentment goes against everything that is consumerism.
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[ame=""]YouTube- Beastie Boys - Fight For Your Right - Solid Gold Hits[/ame]

When I saw your thread May this song popped into my head.

There are some things in this life that we do have to earn, sometimes it is happiness. What makes one person happy won't fill the next with joy, so in that regards some people find happiness easier than others...while others might have to fight/search their whole lives trying to find it. While it may fall into some laps all to easy and others pursue it with dogged determination, happiness is nigh on impossible to quantify. If my government gets half a chance though they will tax the hell out of it.
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