“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be. ” (F) What is happiness and how is it achieved? Simple questions, with different complex answers, none of which can be proved to be right or wrong. Happiness is an individual state of being of each person, acquired by one’s perception in that special moment in time. It simply depends on the individual and how they try to obtain it. Thousands of people try different paths in order to successfully achieve happiness; some of them finding it, some of them never reaching the goal. There are thousands of different answers and meanings for happiness.
In this paper, I will argue that the most necessary virtue an individual needs to be have to be happy, is the virtue of mind. Aristotle, one of the most important Greek philosophers in history, defined happiness as the activity of the mind in accordance with virtue. He did not think of happiness as just a state of being; he thought of happiness to be the highest form of good. Everything people do has a specific purpose in life; it aims at something, at a final good. Happiness is an end sufficient in itself, is the end at which all our actions aim.
In order to reach this perfect state, he thought the individual should possess; external, mind and bodily virtues and living and acting in accordance to them. By doing so, achieving total happiness. Virtue is what aids proper functioning, since when possessed makes the possessor good. Virtue is a matter of having an apt attitude towards pleasure and pain; therefore it lies in a mean between two extremes. Aristotle implied the mean or balance to be between two vices, the excess which is the one that exceeds and defect the one that falls short, of what is right in our desires and actions.
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Whereas virtue, finds and chooses what is intermediate. The idea of the virtue then, is for the desires to set the situation and for the individual to be able to choose the intermediate and act like a virtuous person. External pleasures; such as honor, wealth and power. Physical pleasures such as beauty, health, and fertility. And mental pleasures such as; patience, intelligence and honesty, are the virtues he believed lead to a good life. In order to achieve happiness, is necessary to be a virtuous person. If the individual does not have virtues, then it does not have anything to guide heir lives by. That being said, the most important virtue to possess is the virtue of the mind, which refers to peace of mind. After being able to attain peace of mind, accomplishing the other virtues and making good use of them is much easier, since mental pleasure is the basis of every other virtue. Positive thoughts, security, believing and accepting oneself, high self-esteem and more, is what makes one happy and leads the individual in the pursuit of more positive actions, therefore making the individual more likely to obtain the other virtues.
The way one thinks of themselves and the attitude that one has about life tells a lot about a person. People who have virtue of the mind are going to be happy no matter what, because they know how to react towards life, even in the moments of misfortune or disgrace. For example, people who are going through hard times know how to handle the situation better because they have a positive outlook on life and are able to cope with those situations better. People who have virtue of the mind also know their various challenges and obstacles and are still able to overcome them.
Having peace of mind, and knowing how to make good use of one’s internal virtues, is an effortless way to live one’s life and have a better future. By accepting oneself intellectually, physically and interiorly, as well as accepting the environment in which one lives, including the people, the traditions and society, to the point where one respects the other people, including their acts, their way of thinking and their way of living. Peace of mind is not worrying about the future or for the things that happened in the past.
But to live the present in an authentic and exceptional manner, to not worry some day about the things you should have done before but to be satisfied and happy of how has lived their lives. Virtue of the mind also means to love oneself more than anything and anyone, since to love and care for someone one must first learn how to know, care and love themselves. Someone might object that the virtue of the mind is not the most important virtue to have since nowadays to have positive thoughts and a peaceful mind it’s not enough to make someone happy, but wealth and influence.
Being beautiful, honest, intelligent, and healthy is nothing if one does not have money. Most people are always in the persistent struggle to be prosperous, given that the people who do not have money are miserable because they do not have “anything. ” Poor people for example, are not happy, even though they possess physical and mind virtues; they lack external ones, such as money and are unfortunate because without wealth you are nothing. In the society of nowadays, being wealthy is not an option, but a must to be happy. One might object to it, but how can one explain that some wealthy and influence people are unhappy.
Wealth and influence does not give people happiness. Just a positive attitude towards life would give someone the final good. There are some famous people that despite great wealth seem miserable. Some of them don’t even have a stable partner, usually get in trouble with the law all the time, fall in the live drugs, and some of them even commit suicide. Heath Ledger, for example, known as one of the best actors in history for the leading role of the joker in “The Dark Night”, recognized as one of the best-selling movies of all time.
Famous, with family, wealthy and in the media everywhere, but despite all that “happiness” he had, he still committed suicide, possibly caused by a depression of not fulfilling the expectations of the fans or even not knowing how to cope with the pressure of the role. For some people money can bring a lot of happiness in the sense of stability, freedom and independence. However, money with lack of peace of mind is nothing and would get the individual nowhere.
A survey titled “Joys and Dilemma of Wealth” by Boston College revealed that the wealthiest people are unhappy because they are worried about seeming ungrateful, rearing spoiled children and failing to meet expectations. These people are in the mouth of everyone; their names appear in the media with false gossip, and their privacy is always intruded. This a mistake where the individuals centered their lives on the external, and are concerned too much about what other people think without believing in themselves, leading them not only to auto destructive acts but violent actions for them and their families.
For some, money and wealth gives happiness, but definitely not the truly one. Only mental pleasure; believing in oneself, having a positive attitude, having high self-esteem and loving oneself like no other, would lead one to complete happiness. Material or external possessions are not essential, if the individual knows and recognizes what their goals in live are. To corroborate the importance of the virtues of mind to reach happiness, first of all the individual needs to realize and be aware that happiness is an internal state of being of each person.
There are numerous amounts of people in the world who could serve as examples to support the importance of the virtue of mind in the path of achieving happiness. Nelson Mandela, for example, one of the most recognized, respected and admired political leaders of our time. In spite of the extremely poor conditions he had to live in during his early life and nearly three decades of imprisonment, he still struggle and did everything he could to fight for his believes against racial oppression.
His heroic acts made him win the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. By this and many other important things that he has done, is when he saw his ideals and purpose in life, coming true. Most likely, giving him the complete happiness he has always fought for. Nick Vujicic is an admirable person, and another great example of the importance of just having a positive attitude towards life to be happy. Nick was born with no limbs, he is practically just torso, and has a small foot on his left hip which helps him with balance.
Nick’s father taught him to swim at 18 months, to type with his little toe at just 6 years of age, and his mom invented a special plastic device for him to hold a pen or pencil with his mouth to be able to write. He plays golf, swims and surfs. Even though it was really difficult for him to adapt to his difference when little, he overcame every issue he had and nowadays is an admirable person, who has traveled to 24 countries of the world sharing how this problem has become a blessing for him, and how just by changing your attitude towards life makes a great difference in every individual.
Just like these examples, there are many more cases of people that just by having a positive attitude towards life have been able to succeed or overcome obstacles even though they have had a hard life. Supporting that if an individual has virtue of the mind, and has always a positive view, fights for their ideals and know what they want for their life they will achieve happiness. DO NOT USE “YOU"
- Little, Lyneka. Miseries of the Rich and Famous: The Concerns of the Super Rich: Wealth Does Not Bring Happiness-ABC.
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Calibre Wealth Management, Boston College. 21 March. 2011. Web October 14.
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- http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/34560/Aristotle/254722/Happiness#ref923103
- http://abcnews. go. com/Business/concerns-super-rich-wealth-bring-happiness/story? id=13167578#. UHsgpMVYuSo
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People Are Just as Happy as They Make Up. (2016, Dec 26). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/people-are-just-as-happy-as-they-make-up-their-minds-to-be/