When I was a small child, I thought that success spelled happiness. I was wrong. Happiness is like a butterfly which appears and delights us for one brief moment, but soon flits away – Anna Pavlova
What is happiness?
Finding happiness is like finding yourself. You don’t find happiness, you make happiness. Self-actualisation is a process of discovering who you are, who you want to be and paving the way to happiness by doing what brings you the most meaning and contentment to your life over the long run. – David Leonhardt
Hedonia and Eudamonia
Essentially, Anna Pavlova was speaking from a hedonic stance, where happiness comes from psychological experiences and the feeling of pleasure.
From a hedonic stance, the object or source of happiness is not important.
While David Leonhardt was speaking from a eudaimonic stance, where happiness is about fulfilling a process of life, striving for the good-life; happiness is not an end-product or goal, but is achieved through action.
Brickman and Campbell (1971)
Based on the concept of the hedonic treadmill, they suggest that there is little people can do to change their long-term levels of happiness.
Lottery Winners are no more happy than non winners and paraplegic individuals are no less happy than those who can walk.
Is it true?
Hedonia is associated with subjective experiences such as feeling relaxed, excited, and content, losing track of time, such measures seem relatively unconcious and uncontrollable.
Eudaimonia is associated with developing one’s potentials, with investing effort, with having clear goals, and with feeling challenged. It may therefore be possible to create happiness..