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Have We Lost Touch With The Basics Of Happiness?

Have We Lost Touch With The Basics Of Happiness?

By Susan Williams

There was an interesting article published a while back entitled “America The Anxious: Americans are spending a fortune on finding happiness—and becoming less happy in the process“.

In the article, they described how the packaging and selling of happiness has become over a $10 billion industry (yes – that was billions) however the level of people’s happiness has not really increased at all.

The post also shared that Americans continue to not rank high in the world’s happiness rankings and even in one report were ranked behind Rwanda.

As I read this article it reminded me of the movie I recently watched entitled Happy. This movie documented what made people happy and profiled a number of different people and communities where high levels of happiness were discovered.

There was one profile in particular that really stood out for me.

In the film they shared the story of a rickshaw driver in India. This man lived in a hut with his family that had barely a roof and a massive opening on one side that exposed the shelter to the elements. He spoke of the rain and how it would often cause them problems in their home. But he went further on to share how he was happy that he had a place to live and a “window” to look out of.

He was then filmed at his job.

As he walked in his flip flops through the muddy streets pulling customers in a rusty rickshaw, he spoke of how people mistreated him while he worked. But he said he didn’t pay attention or get bothered because otherwise they might not use his services again.

He then shared how he would often get caught in torrential rainstorms while working and get drenched. But continued on to say that he was then thankful because when he ran he would then get dry.

At the end of his grueling shift, he would go home to what he called the best part of his day. His children greeting him and having his friends around him to spend time with.

He was a happy man.

We can only imagine this type of life and in turn imagine how unhappy we would be living it. But when you break it down, there are really just some basic things that made this gentleman happy;

Place to Live

He had a place to call home and live with his family. He had a roof over his head and food to eat. His basic needs were met.


This man had someplace to go (his rickshaw) and a purpose to do it (provide for his family).


Where he lived, he was surrounded by friends. He knew he had people who – as it can sometimes be said – “had his back“.

People He Loved and Who Loved Him

Family. He loved his family and they loved him. It was that simple.

Positive Attitude

In every situation this man was placed in his attitude was positive. He could have complained, he could have been miserable but instead he considered himself to be happy and blessed.

As I thought about this man, it made me wonder – are we sometimes over-complicating our pursuit of happiness? Are we possibly overlooking what we already have and missing out on happiness in the process?

I don’t know.

I think only each of us can answer that question for ourselves but it certainly gives us something to consider. I’m pretty sure that the $10 billion dollar happiness industry doesn’t want us to think about this.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.