“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.” – James Oppenheim
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Throughout modern human history, we have had one thing on our minds. That thing is happiness.
In the very beginning, our pre-historic ancestors survived however they could. They were hunters and gatherers. Happiness was probably not high on their list of priorities.
Then we discovered agriculture. This allowed societies to form. Since that time, we have been working our way to discovering how we can achieve happiness.
In 1943, Abraham Maslow published his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation“. In it, he represents human motivation in a pyramid shape called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It works its way from our most fundamental need, physiological, to our most fulfilled need, self-actualization.Often times we seek happiness before we are ready. Click To Tweet
What does this have to do with happiness? Everything. Often times we seek happiness before we are ready. We look at successful people and yearn to be like them. Yet we ignore our most fundamental needs.
Before we can reach a state of self-actualization and happiness, we must fulfill the hierarchy of needs.
Physiological needs are the physical requirements we need for basic survival. This includes air, food, and water. Without these things we can not survive.
Once we have our basic needs met, we look to fulfill our safety needs. This includes personal and financial security, health, and emergency funds.
Love and Belonging
No matter what people tell you, we all want to feel a sense of belonging. We want to feel loved. When people do not get this, they become susceptible to loneliness, anxiety and depression.
Next comes respect and self-esteem. We want to be accepted and valued for our contributions to society. Often times we seek this from our jobs. We want to feel respect from our peers, but more importantly we want to respect ourselves and our own achievements.
Once we have achieved esteem, we want to reach our full potential. In order to accomplish everything we want, we must be everything we can be.
—Don't look towards others to achieve happiness, look within yourself. Click To Tweet
Happiness can not be reached by looking into some distant future. If we want to to reach self-actualization and possible self-transcendence, we must fulfill our own needs. Don’t look towards others to achieve happiness, look within yourself.