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"Happy" Compare and Contrast Essay

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By Mackcobb
Words 994
Pages 4
The documentary called “Happy,” directed by Roko Belic, is about a quest to finding the meaning of happiness. The inspirational film travels to numerous countries to find out what really makes people happy. It demonstrates powerful real-life stories of people showing their personal definition of happiness. Scientists also offer their input on the secret of this emotion and talk about intrinsic and extrinsic goals. Extrinsic and intrinsic goals represent two very different types of motivation that are the basis for a person’s journey to achieving what they feel is happiness.
Extrinsic and intrinsic goals differ in the type of happiness a person is able to achieve. Extrinsic goals are external factors that come from a force outside one’s self that drive a person towards happiness. Someone who is extrinsically motivated is driven by praise, money, image, or status. It is often said that money can’t buy happiness. It perhaps can buy happiness with meeting basic needs, but usually it cannot go beyond that because you are often left with wanting more. The happiness of an event or materialistic thing often dissipates, leaving people seeking for something more. On the other hand, intrinsic goals represent internal factors that are inherently satisfying. Goals like social bonding, social interaction, and personal growth motivate certain people to lead happier and less anxious lives. It is believed that you as an individual choose to be happy. People who are intrinsically motivated are integrated and connected with their self and the people that surround them. The connection you build with friends, family, or peers brings joy to your life. As stated in the movie, Helen Keller said it best when she said, “see with your heart.”
The documentary supports the fact that people who are extrinsically motivated are less satisfied with their lives and feel more anxious and stressed. For example, the documentary journeys to the country of Japan, a country known for its killer work ethic. It is seen that in Japan the people care more about business and making money. The country values economic growth and material prosperity above all else. These extrinsic goals basically cause the Japanese to work themselves to death, something they officially termed as Karoshi. The businessman from Japan in the film who was a husband and father clearly seemed motivated by extrinsic factors because he was always working and never home. His three-year old daughter didn’t even recognize him because he had been gone for so long. He later died from Karoshi. Ultimately, the Japanese people are working too long of hours and enduring such stress that this toxic lifestyle is leading to record low levels of happiness. In fact, there is more and more evidence proving that Japan is indeed the least happy of the wealthy industrialized nations. In stark contrast, the country of Denmark is known to be the happiest country in the world. With free health care and education, money is not the motivational factor in the lives of the people of Denmark. Compassion, love, and kindness intrinsically motivate this country to live the happiest life they can live with the people around them. There is a great sense of community in Denmark where the people value relationships and value supporting one another. In fact, Denmark has the most co-housing communities of the modern industrialized nations. Co-housing prevents depression and isolation because there are multiple families living together, supporting each other through life’s troubles. This in itself is inherently satisfying and cultivates a happy lifestyle. The importance of a solid support system is a huge factor in achieving happiness. In the documentary, a scientist talked about the hedonic treadmill, which refers to the ability of a human to adapt and return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite a major life change. This is significant when talking about extrinsic and intrinsic factors because its what drives the person to adapt that gets them through the life crisis. For example, I feel that if my house were to burn down today and I would lose all of my material things, I would still be able to move on, live my life, achieve happiness again because of the support I would receive from family and friends. Are nice sweaters going to keep my happy or are my family and friends going to sustain my happiness throughout life? Its people and the relationships we form that drive us towards happiness. I feel grateful for my family and the wonderful people I have in my life and that is the reason I can truly say I am happy today. I intrinsically choose to be happy and not because I have material items or certain clothes or popularity but because of the relationships I have built with the people in my life who help me with my own personal growth and have supported me along the way. I truly believe that money can’t buy happiness.
In conclusion, happiness is the key to life. Values are key components of happiness. If you are happy, everything else in life should fall into place. But the important thing to know is which goals to value in order to achieve true happiness, extrinsic versus intrinsic goals. The documentary, “Happy,” states that people with extrinsic goals are less satisfied, less energized, and feel less vital in life, whereas people with intrinsic goals are more energized, happier, less depressed and less stressed. You have to do what makes you happy, not what is perceived to make people/others happy. Focus on what you do have, not what you don’t have. Material things make you happy or fill that void just temporarily, its people and relationships that are there for you always and will complete your happiness. Taking the time to appreciate the smaller things in life, forming lasting relationships and developing your own support system will lead to a long and healthy lifestyle. Therefore, someone who has intrinsic goals will ultimately lead a happier life.…...

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