The Factors Our Happiness Depends on

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About this sample


Words: 1089 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 1089|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

According to Epictetus, a philosopher from the Stoic school, 'There is only one way to happiness, it is to renounce things that do not depend on our will.'

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Happiness suggests, by its Latin etymology (bonum augurium, 'of good omen'), the idea of 'luck', of 'chance', as if it did not depend on us to be happy. However, happiness also appears to be the result of a voluntary and thoughtful process, in which reasoning seems to be involved. There is indeed in the notion of 'happiness' the idea of 'fullness' and 'stability'. Happiness is defined as a state of lasting satisfaction that we seek to achieve through our actions and according to our personal idea of it.

But then, does it depend on us to be happy?

There are many things in our lives that do not depend on us. Indeed, we cannot control everything. You can lose loved ones, get sick. Happiness can therefore rest more in what we think of the circumstances that fall upon us. Even under adverse circumstances, we can achieve happiness through the way we approach these events. What do we do for a friend going through a difficult time? We try at all costs to comfort him, to reason with him so that he can consider a possible future happiness beyond his immediate sadness. We want him to rise above all his problems. If we do it for others, can't we do it for ourselves? We are used to thinking we are powerless in the face of fate's blows. But it is not events that must be forced in our favor to be happy, it is to ourselves that we must do violence to force ourselves to see what is positive where sadness prevails. Once we have passed the shock and sadness of grief, for example, we can consider being happy if we do not focus on what we do not have or no longer have (irreparable loss about what we cannot do anything about), to focus on what we have (the memories that remain of the disappeared for example, the memory we carry of him). To be happy, we must give only a price to the present. The past is no longer in our power and we cannot act on the future. By living fully in the present, we fully progress towards wisdom. Seneca says in the Letters to Lucilius: 'Hope and fear come from the fact that instead of adapting to the present we project our thoughts into the distant future'.

However, our happiness also depends mainly on circumstances and is based on a share of luck that we do not control. Wisdom helps us not to sink into misfortune, but it does not make us happy on its own. For Machiavelli, happiness depends on fortune. He argues in The Prince that happiness does not depend solely on us. You also need a little luck to be happy. To have a healthy body, to experience a period without wars,.... It depends on many factors that are beyond our reach. Therefore, happiness is fluctuating. If happiness depends on luck, then it can come and go. We often experience this. In The Prince, Machiavelli compares fortune to a powerful stream. A torrent can fertilize the plains, be a source of prosperity, but it can also take everything in its path. In the same way, fortune can bring happiness, but it can take it back. Happiness presupposes lasting, continuous satisfaction.

The book Happiness from Frédéric Lenoir, a French philosopher, is a revelation about the philosophic and authentic meaning of this most-pursued feeling in the world. There is no recipe for a perfectly happy life. The search of happiness is not a meaningless quest. Happiness varies according to cultures, persons and life’s phases. Happiness is subjective. It takes the head of what we don’t have. For a sick person, happiness is being pain free. For the unemployed, happiness is a job. Some people recognize that they were happy until a misfortune occurred in their life. Indeed, as the French poet Jacques Prévert once said : “I recognized happiness from the noise it made as it left.” Yet, happiness isn’t just based on things outside of me or you. It’s also about a state of being. One of the chapters was entitled, 'Happiness is contagious.' The happier I am, the more I give happiness to the people around me. Being happy means learning how to choose consciously; not only small, appropriate pleasures (like eating delicious, melting chocolate ice cream), but also a career path, a way of life and of love.

To explain how these theoretical conclusion apply to human beings in their personal lives, I decided to talk about the book Man's Search for Meaning written by Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. In this book, Victor Frankl (1905-1997) wrote about his life and what he learned from as a concentration camp inmate during the Second World War. He gave here a deep message of hope: even in the most absurd and painful circumstances, life can be given a meaning. It encourages people to change their vision and attitude towards life. In addition, he explained that to survive, we have to find a meaning. He found his own in his continuous thought for his wife who had been sent to a women's camp. He then understood that love wins over everything and allows him to achieve fulfillment despite the horror he suffered. Moreover, Frankl finds a meaning in suffering. We all would like to eradicate suffering because happiness will come when suffering is gone. According to Frankl, we can't eradicate it but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.The notion of 'Happiness' is therefore at the heart of Frankl's work. As he said « Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue ».

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We can conclude that it is not up to us to be happy. Indeed, the circumstances and the relationship with others are beyond our control. What depends on us, however, is to make our hope for future happiness rational. We must make ourselves worthy of what we hope for, do our moral duty, and hope. We must not be the obstacle to our own happiness because of an unfortunate conscience, desires that cannot be fulfilled or a painful knowledge of who we are and what things are. It is neither a question of passively waiting for happiness to fall on us, nor of naively believing that I can produce it by the sole effort of my will.

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The Factors Our Happiness Depends On. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from
“The Factors Our Happiness Depends On.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
The Factors Our Happiness Depends On. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jul. 2024].
The Factors Our Happiness Depends On [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2024 Jul 17]. Available from:
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