Rainbows, I Tell You

4th March 2009

Psychologists now know what makes people happy

My favorite part of this article on happiness by Marilyn Elias:

“One of the happiest men I ever met was a 64-year-old Chicago welder with a fourth-grade education,” he says. The man took immense pride in his work, refusing a promotion to foreman that would have kept him from what he loved to do. He spent evenings looking at the rock garden he built, with sprinklers and floodlights set up to create rainbows.”

12 thoughts on “Rainbows, I Tell You

  1. Colleen

    I’m just finishing my doctorate in clinical psychology and I recognize that excerpt…it’s from a book called Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. The psychologist who came up with it and spoke about that man was Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It’s about (among other things) how some people regardless of economics, standard of living, etc, will find happiness through times when they are in states of flow. It’s a beautiful concept and also reminds me why certain things we like to do, like watch tv or surf the internet, will actually never make us happy…we’ve got to work for it a bit…cheers.

  2. Tashina

    I loved the article. I’ve been going through a rough patch and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks for posting it!

  3. deirdre

    My best friend and I were talking about this very thing a couple of days ago. We were both told from a very young age to make the best of ourselves and to continually improve ourselves. No surprise, we both went to school for our Ph.D.s. But then, once we got out of school, we found ourselves unhappy at every job we took, always thinking there must be a better job somewhere and that we needed to be looking for it. Well, we both turn 43 this year, and we had a long talk about how maybe this search for continual improvement that helped us get our education ISN’T working for us in our work life. We are both going through some changes that is making us realize that our crappy little jobs aren’t going to make us rich, and our houses aren’t the nicest they could be, but the slower we are, and the less focused on improvement we are, the HAPPIER we are.

    It’s hard to change philosophies midstream, but I’m really beginning to understand and embrace the philosophy of being in the moment and accepting the state of now, as opposed to seeking a better future all the exhausting time.

  4. Jen

    Thank you Maggie.

    Those last 3 paragraphs are being memorized…such valuable reminders. A bit more humble, a bit more brave!

  5. Misha

    amen, sister. underschedulers, stop feeling like slackers! find your happy in every day.

  6. Jessica

    Thank you so much for linking to that article. I’m a pretty damn happy person and now I know why – I get completely engaged in things I enjoy. I’m not worried about making a kazillion dollars – I’d much rather have a job I get lost in working for and with people I truly enjoy as colleagues and friends. It was really nice to see those concepts in print because I never really put all of it together and now I understand. And I’m glad. And HAPPY!

  7. Kathryn

    What a great quote – and sentiment on life. Focusing on doing what we do well and enjoying each moment are definitely the keys to happiness.

Comments are closed.