It should come as no surprise that much of what we do is born from the pursuit of happiness. But when it comes to defining the true meaning of happiness, things get a bit more complicated. It's a question that society has sought to answer for centuries, and it's often subjective. Of course, we can always benefit from learning different points of view in our quest to be happy, which is why we're more than eager to hear what one enlightened expert has to say on the topic.
Chade-Meng Tan, an international best-selling author and TED Talk speaker who retired from Google as its Jolly Good Fellow (translation: head of personal growth) at age 45, recently shared his take on tranquility and how we can look to other cultures for guidance on achieving it with Thrive Global. The co-chair of One Billion Acts of Peace, which has landed eight nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, Tan explains that he's a firm believer of Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard's definition of happiness, which is "a deep sense of flourishing that arises from an exceptionally healthy mind [rather than] a mere pleasurable feeling, a fleeting emotion, or a mood, but an optimal state of being."
We already know it's been scientifically proven that money and materialism tend to offer only short-term happiness, and Tan reveals yet another key way to shift how we find joy, courtesy of the culture of Bhutan in the Himalayas. Calling the Eastern society masters in mind training, the philanthropist notes that rather than seeking happiness as the result of "sensual and ego pleasures," he emphasizes fostering "meaningful, caring relationships with people and with Mother Earth."
That's not all: Tan also suggests that instead of viewing happiness as the end goal, we should strive for "the complete liberation from suffering, for self and for all sentient beings." Once society can take steps toward peace, he says, happiness will be "merely a fortunate side effect." Considering that even Berkeley agrees that committing random acts of kindness can make us happier people, that's an objective we can all get behind.
Up next—learn another mental trick to being happier, straight from a happiness researcher.