Through my life experiences, I’ve come to believe the theory that some people’s brains are better wired for happiness than, for example, my brain. For instance, take my husband Jason. He’s happy all the time (sometimes infuriatingly so). He doesn’t worry, fret, and stew over things the way I do. Even in 2008, when art sales came to a near stand-still at our gallery, and I thought we were going to lose everything for which we had worked, Jason optimistically kept moving forward. He takes life in stride and knows to his core that things will work out.
I also see it in my children (I have four, ages 12, 9, 6, & 4). My oldest daughter struggles with dyslexia. Everything academically is excruciatingly difficult for her. You would think that she leads a miserable life because, at her age, academics play such a huge role (and I’m very much a mother who values education). But you’d be wrong. She’s my happiest kid. She has this amazing ability to compartmentalize her life and focus on the aspects that bring her joy. She too, seems to have the gift of knowing things will work out and everything will be o.k.. My son, on the other hand, who is gifted academically, is prone to boredom, anxiety, and grumpiness. He’s a great kid, and because academically he’s such a quick study, you’d think his life easy and happy. But that isn’t the case.
Though we may be wired differently and have different happiness set-points, studies have shown there are steps we can take to improve our personal happiness. I can’t help but think artists are doing just that by being artists! In the Atlantic article, What We Know Now About How to Be Happy I read the following statement:
“So it seems like going after the material goods that are so appealing – a nice house, car, or bottle of wine – may actually make us more psychologically impoverished than the “larger” goals, like personal growth and self-satisfaction.”
It seems to me, artists are very much in pursuit of personal growth and self-satisfaction. They have gifts and are actively nurturing and growing those gifts. I don’t believe one becomes an artist by accident. It takes guts. But that sort of courage leads to the sort of happiness for which many yearn. Too many of us are stuck in pursuits that don’t recognize or utilize our talents.
I encourage you to read the Atlantic article and share your thoughts about how pursuing your artistic talent relates to your happiness and fulfillment with life.