Thursday, January 2, 2014

Seeking a Fulfilling Life: Why There Is More to it Than Happiness

As you get older you find out that true happiness is not in how much you make or how many degrees you have or how big your house is or how fancy your car is. It's finding peace and joy and a calmness in your life that will soon become the most important thing to you. Your family are what matters to you. Things that are quality, not of quantity. ~ Sayings


Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

ToddKashdan.Web_ Todd Kashdan is a Professor at George Mason University.

He is also the author of a number of books including ‘Curious’ which Arianna Huffington said is ‘One of those rare books that can make you rethink how you see the world’. He recently delivered a TEDx talk on ‘Becoming a Mad Scientist With Your Life’.

Todd is the embodiment of living life large. Always enthusiastic and passionate (sometimes scarily so). He has made significant contributions to the science of social psychology and well being.

What do you want most in Life? For the vast majority of us, the answer is "to be happy." We want to be happy, and we want our children and loved ones to be happy too.
Not surprisingly, we spend a lot of time, effort, and money trying to achieve this sometimes elusive happiness. Our desire to "be happy" has resulted in a multibillion-dollar self improvement industry with a staggering number of books, tapes, motivational speakers, therapists, and gurus. Infomercials plead with us to purchase the latest top-secret happiness strategy--appearing when we're most vulnerable, teetering on the edge of sleep at 2 A.M. In recent years, houses of worship have become empires, megachurches where members can pray, eat shop, sing, and work out in a one-stop happiness enterprise. It is simply exhausting to think about the myriad of choices available to create happiness.
Despite the commercialization of its pursuit, happiness is a good thing.
Yet is happiness itself truly the thing, the goal, that we should constantly be seeking? I would answer "no" ... and here's why: We have been sold on the idea that being happy is the only or most important goal in life.
While acknowledging the importance of happiness to creating a fulfilling life, when we focus on it, we lose out on the complexity of being human. We ignore the other important pieces of the puzzle, such as meaning in life, maturity, wisdom, and compassion.
But if we do things solely to be happy, what happens after this goal is met? We can find ourselves on an endless, fruitless, treadmill of "happiness seeking," never actually feeling all that happy! I believe that all the time and energy spent looking at and trying to move the happiness gauge a notch higher can be used much more effectively. Instead of constantly trying to be happy, we should focus on building a rich, meaningful life, guided by our core values and interests. ~ Todd Kashdan, Ph.D., author of Curious? Seeking a Fulfilling Life


The center's mission is to serve as a catalyst for human well-being and to help individuals and organizations thrive in a world of complexity and uncertainty.

We have made a number of updates to our new website (, have a new Twitter handle (@CWB_Mason), and have added a number of new events and opportunities including


Please forward to colleagues, friends or students who might benefit. Thank you.