Lots of talk on Huffington Post and Medium—and in the HR blogosphere—about happiness at work and in life.

“Just do seventeen things and you will be rich, content and happy. You might do better at work, get a raise, be more attractive and have more sex.”

I think some of that’s okay, but it seems like the more we pursue happiness, the less likely we are to attain it. That’s called the paradox of hedonism—or the pleasure paradox—and Wikipedia would be an excellent place for you to learn more about an endless quest for happiness.

I always tell anybody who listens: happiness isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and cynicism is underrated. Maybe that’s a little extreme, but happiness can leave you dull and hopeless. It leaves you thinking about the space that exists in your heart and your mind. And it keeps you thinking about yourself instead of others.

I am trying to push myself to be less cynical, but I don’t want to be a happy fool. I would like to get up earlier, build up a reservoir of goodwill with my colleagues, anticipate success, and savor the good moments.

That’s enough for me.


  1. I totally agree with the former (and still, maybe?) Cynical Girl. Cynicism IS underrated. And I think a lot of so called ‘happiness’ is a cover. I do believe that true happiness exists but not every minute of the day. It reminds me of the time a psychologist I was seeing was telling me about the benefits of a new anti-depressant that was out. She told me how it turned a man that was angry all the time into a person that was happy all the time. My response to her was “But I don’t want to be happy!”, meaning that I did not want a fake, induced form of happiness. Don’t get me wrong, anti-depressants work wonders. But I still don’t want to be fake happy.

  2. I have a sign on my desk that says; ‘Happiness is a choice’ And I believe it is.

    But we are human and its a Pollyanna approach to believe hapiness is an easy choice. Some days yes and some days no. There is merit to having angry and snarky moments.

    If nothing else it provides context and appreciation. Which is sorely needed on those crappy, over- or underwhelming days we all have.

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