Are You Happy?

by Carrie Horejs on 05/23/2012 · 1 comment

With my four children. I'm learning we all have our unique happiness set-points.

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.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Barney Davey June 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Hi Carrie,
Thank you for sharing the picture and personal insights. It is endearing to glimpse the family who holds up the man.

I have known Jason for years. When we met, we had much in common with both us working in our own ways to help artists become successful. Since then, we have collaborated on many projects, including our ongoing art marketing podcasts and Xanadu Gallery’s promoting my art marketing workshop series. More than business friends, I think we are kindred spirits in terms of being optimistic, cheerful that often comes across as a “happy-go-lucky” personality.

Both the Atlantic article and your notes about differing personalities in your children point out we are somewhat predetermined in dealing with what life throws at us. Happiness is not just having an outwardly positive demeanor. I agree with The Atlantic article in that it is more about being self-satisfied on the “Eudaimonic” level. That is, that the feeling that comes with accomplishment.

When I was a serious woodworker, there would always be a moment in the shop near, or at the end, of a project where I would take in what I had created. It always filled me with an endorphin charged moment. I get that now when I write a blog post that packs punch, or when unsolicited feedback comes from saying something I have done or written has made a difference. That’s what drives me now and feeds a sense of happiness that transcends a “happy-go-lucky” perosna. I bet many artists can relate in their own way to the same kind of moments and feedback.


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