Is the Good Life Found in Pursuing Happiness?

A good life with a successful career, enough money, and property is a manifestation of happiness for many people. However, not all people achieve this goal and can call themselves happy, and some, in the pursuit of happiness, money, or success, remain miserable for life. Therefore, happiness and a good life are different concepts, and one can exist separately from the other; thus, not always a good life can be found in the pursuit of happiness.

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The first reason people cannot find a good life in the pursuit of happiness is that it is often not possible due to external factors and causes. This fact is confirmed by many events in history and the world’s current situation, since conflicts, poverty, unjust policies of states often put people in a difficult position. Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” photo is one such example. A brief description of photography’s history suggests that the mother and her children experienced hunger and poverty due to forced migration (Soltys, 1988).

This photo demonstrates that the happiness and good life for this family would be food and a roof over their heads; however, they cannot achieve it due to the Resettlement Administration policy (Soltys, 1988). Probably, this family found a good life after a while, or they got their happiness in each other, although they were forced to work hard and be poor throughout their lives. This situation is real for many people as long as there is poverty, war, and inequality in the world. Thus, a good life is possible from a historical and global perspective but not for all people.

The second reason why people do not find the good life in the pursuit of happiness is that they realize that it really is not that important. In this argument, as in the entire essay, a good life is determined by career success, financial wealth, and an impeccable reputation. However, Waldinger (2015) says that according to the Harvard study, which lasted 75 years, these qualities are not so important for achieving happiness (Waldinger, 2015).

In other words, good life in its material and physical sense is not always necessary to be happy and even healthy. However, social connections and the person to count on are the keys to achieving harmony in life (Waldinger, 2015). This study shows that people can find their happiness in other people, even without a big house or high-paying job. On the other hand, a good, comfortable life often does not give satisfaction if there are no people to share it with them. Therefore, from a scientific and sociological point of view, people do not always achieve a good life in the pursuit of happiness, since it is not a necessary part of it.

Another reason why people do not find a good life is that they want it too much but do not know how to value it. The moment people reach a good life, it seems to them that it is not good enough. Such people always think that they do not have enough money and a high position at work because they cannot appreciate their achievements. I have had a practical experience similar to this example, although it did not significantly affect my life and happiness.

Once my mother set me up as an example of my friend who could quickly read and understand books, and I wanted to have the same skill. I quickly achieved my goal, but I wanted more, so I kept reading at night because I did not realize that I was good enough at it. Once, after such a night, I slept through my bus stop and drove very far from home, and only this made me reevaluate myself and become satisfied with my skills. However, many people do not realize their achievements and in pursuit of them make themselves and those around them unhappy.

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In conclusion, examining the good life in the context of happiness from different perspectives or ways of knowing helps to present all arguments thoughtfully. In this case, the historical and global perspective has shown the impossibility of a good life for all people, and the social and scientific ways have confirmed that this concept is not vital to achieving happiness. Besides, personal experience and understanding of the problem helped reveal another argument that can be relevant for many people. Thus, this approach to discussing issues is the most appropriate for their disclosure.

References

Soltys, H. (Ed.) (1998). Dorothea Lange’s ‘Migrant mother’ photographs in the Farm Security Administration collection.  Library of Congress. https://guides.loc.gov/migrant-mother

Waldinger, R. (2015). What makes a good life? Lesson from the longest study on happiness [Video]. TED. https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_waldinger_what_makes_a_good_life_lessons_from_the_longest_study_on_happiness

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StudyCorgi. (2020, December 16). Is the Good Life Found in Pursuing Happiness? Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/is-the-good-life-found-in-pursuing-happiness/

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StudyCorgi. 2020. "Is the Good Life Found in Pursuing Happiness?" December 16, 2020. https://studycorgi.com/is-the-good-life-found-in-pursuing-happiness/.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Is the Good Life Found in Pursuing Happiness'. 16 December.

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