Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thoughts Over Coffee

Happiness in life is something we all strive for. If stripped down, there are two basic routes to achieve this. The first is to conform and the second is to do what you want in life. If you conform, you then have a typical career and many friends (since conforming means that you'll share the interests of many people). Someone who conforms would rather overlook their own interests and passions in order to create an idea of what others think their happiness should be about.

The other route in life is to do your own thing, which tends to be a self-satisfying happiness that's deeper and more meaningful. People that work for themselves are far happier, and it is said that the average person would have to earn two and half times as much to be as happy working for someone else as he would be working for himself. More than twice as happy!

Most people do not go to college to learn an array of subjects. Most people take the bare minimum number of credits to graduate and only work hard enough to pass. Most people go to college to get a degree so they can get a job, so they can earn money, so they can buy things. They dedicate a major part of their life (their career) to something they don't actually enjoy or care about.

As social creatures, we need societies to survive, and therefore we rely on others. As nature would have it, we have learned to conform and sacrifice. Instead of pursuing our own loves/hobbies/interests, we tend to abandon them to secure a path in life that will give us a sense of security and happiness. Thus, the ultimate sacrifice is of ourselves. If we throw away our own personal goals and ideas for the greater good of society, then are we ever truly free?


  1. Can I politely disagree?

    I think there are not two ways to happiness:
    1: conform and have many friends (and just get by averagely in college etcetcetc)
    2: follow your own path

    Basically I don't think conforming means you'll share the interests of many people, because just by 'conforming' those interests are not your own but those of others.
    I also think that if you do follow your own path, you end up with friends that share those very particular interests.. which eventually would make them richer friendships.

    On a side note: I think you run the tendency to do the first route (conform) a lot quicker if you live in smaller villages/towns because there will be less people that share your very particular interests. Metropoli are better for this.
    But then again. There are many people that don't have particular interests. AND (found another point I disagree on). there are tons of people that prefer working for someone else instead of working for themselves, because it's much more secure and easier. (perhaps not in the current economic climate).

    Enjoy the 2nd path!

  2. This morning I read the newyorker in the train - the malcolm gladwell article on entrepeneurs/ted turner, and then I realized where (part of) of your theory came from.

    Or actually. rereading your post now makes me think you may not have read it.

    - off to bed

  3. Haha, i got the little "happy" statistic from that article! Good eye... the rest is from my brain.