Happiness: A Philosopher’s Guide

I again found myself in the self-care section of the Danville Library and happened to lay eyes on this book, Happiness: A Philosopher’s Guide by Frederic Lenoir. Although I’ve never taken a philosophy class, I’ve always found philosophy to be an interesting subject. When I saw this book, I originally wasn’t going to rent it out because I didn’t know if it would be too difficult to understand since I don’t know much about philosophy. The reason I picked it out was because being happy is something we all strive for, and I thought it would be interesting to read about happiness from a philosopher’s point of view.

Two quotes from this book really stood out to me, and reflect the message that I’m trying to send to all of my followers and readers through my blogging and writing:

“In order to be balanced, our minds do indeed need to be concentrated and attentive, but they also need to be able to roam around without any precise goal, just following their moods, inspirations, and associations of ideas” (72).

“The path matters more than the goal: happiness comes as we make our journey” (31).

On my about me home page underneath “Bridget’s Happy and Healthy Adventure,” it says “Life is about balance.” I believe there should be a balance between doing things that make you happy and doing things that make you healthy. The first quote takes my simple “philosophical idea” and expands upon it. In order to strike a balance, we need to be concentrated and attentive doing certain activities. At work, for example, we want to pay our full attention and focus on the task at hand so we are efficient at our jobs, reflect well on the business we work for, and give our co-workers a good impression that we are hard workers. Another example would be during a workout; focusing on the current exercise and noticing how your muscles relax and contract and making sure you’re in control of your movements. But we can’t run our lives being concentrated and attentive all the time. Sometimes we just need to let our minds do their thing. Maybe you enjoy drawing and don’t know what you want your final creation to look like. Totally fine, you need that to lead a balanced life. Or maybe you’re really sad about something and want to suppress your feelings with food. You don’t have any goal in mind of the meal you’re about to eat, so you just grab random items out of the pantry and fridge. That’s okay, because it will help you to lead a balanced life. You can probably think of plenty of other examples that fit within the two dichotomies, but just remember to practice concentrating on certain tasks and also following wherever your mind takes you to live a balanced life.

The second quote is essentially saying that we experience happiness along our individual adventures. The adventure is more important than the end objective. Another way you may have heard this idea is “The journey is more important than the destination.” I’ve always been about the destination, I never cared much about the journey. I always just wanted the answer, never to think about the steps on how to get to the answer. That’s always been my mindset, so to read that the journey is more important than the destination or the answer took me awhile to comprehend and come to terms with. I would often become frustrated with people who didn’t mind taking their time to get to a place, or people who found the importance of going through the steps to find the solution to a math problem. I would always just say “Let’s go, let’s go, we’re gonna be late!” or “Just give me the answer, I don’t care how to solve the equation!” Now as an adult, I’ve realized that this quote is so truthful and even though it’s hard to accept, it should be this framework that we think within. One example that has led me to accept this philosophical idea is my fitness transformation. I have a goal in mind, and at first when I started the 21 Day Fix, all I could think about was my end objective. As I went through the process and continue to do so, I have realized that the journey is what really matters. I’ve learned how to eat better and make smarter food choices, how to workout better and find fun ways to do so, how to open up to other women and share about my successes and struggles. It’s brought me a lot of happiness to enjoy the journey, even though I haven’t reached my goal yet.

There are a lot of great ideas in this book, and it’s definitely worth a read, especially if you want to learn how to be happier. I’m glad I read this novel because it really opened up my eyes and my mind on how to experience happiness. Remember that life is about balance and the journey; that life is your own happy and healthy adventure. 🙂 ❤

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