25 Oct Is happiness the same as having peace of mind?
I recently read an article in the SMH by social researcher, Hugh McKay. Now I don’t always agree with Hugh’s opinions but I do usually find them thought provoking and this one in particular…got me thinking.
In short, he challenged the notion that peace of mind was necessarily a desirable goal; in the context of this eNewsletter, it made me think about whether or not peace of mind was compatible with happiness.
There’s little doubt that peace of mind has, however you define it, many positive attributes. One could easily argue that by having peace of mind one would be far less likely to experience worry and negative ruminations and, therefore, distress and negative emotions.But at the same time, there’s an equally compelling argument that peace of mind might be correlated with boredom or an unhelpful calmness somehow associated with a mundane existence.
Now, at the risk of being seen to sit on the fence I’ll preface the remainder of this short article with my belief that like almost everything, peace of mind indubitably has pros and cons; good and bad qualities (so to speak). I’m not in any way arguing for mental anguish as a goal we should strive towards but…
…I think what Hugh was noting, and if so this is something with which I’d agree, let’s not pursue peace of mind at the expense of other, challenging experiences which although seemingly adverse in the short term may well be useful and beneficial in the longer term. Change, for example, can be hard but it can certainly also have significant pay-offs; curiosity can kill the cat but it can certainly also lead to learnings and development impossible to find without inquisitiveness; trauma and obstacles, although not always enjoyable in the moment, can lead to invaluable growth and improvement.
So what’s the point of this article? The point, as I hope you’ve understood, is that peace and tranquility may well be a part of happiness but so too are change and uncertainty which can provide important fuel for living a great and happy life. As always, let us know your thoughts…