Thoughts on happiness from Lucy Turnbull

Thoughts on happiness from Lucy Turnbull

Just the other night it was brought to my attention that Lucy Turnbull, a very successful and admirable woman, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of NSW. 

In her acceptance speech she thanked her famous husband and supportive family then went on to state the following thoughts on happiness…

We all strive for a sense of happiness in our working and personal lives.

That  sense of happiness is more than ephemeral pleasant experiences, though these are important.

Happiness also comes from striving to lead good lives – which are  defined by positive psychologist Martin Seligman as ones wrapped up in successfully using your strengths and capacities  to obtain abundant gratification.

And last but not least,  I think  most  important of all, we should strive for a meaningful life.. where our strengths and abilities are used in the service  of something larger than you are – for others, for society  – for people who are disadvantaged or sick,  and the institutions which support those people an their families, and for great cultural and educational institutions which  make such a great impact on our understanding and appreciation of the world.

I think that is what leads many people to work in the philanthropic sector. It is certainly what has inspired me to try to make a contribution  in that way  – the strong desire to live a meaningful life. I think also  that is what inspires other people to become active in religious organisations.

The strengths and capacities we have, and our ability to use them, (and thereby achieve happiness and a sense of meaning) , are all developed right through our lives, from early childhood onwards and especially during our years of higher education.

But these years of learning, though formally ending for you now,  should  never really end. We should always keep open minds, keep a sense of curiosity and wonder about the world, keep learning and do something with our strengths and capacities to good purpose, so that we can truly lead pleasant, good and meaningful lives…

I wanted to share these wise words on happiness and living a good life with you all, as they were shared with me, and I want you all to hope with me that others will share her sentiments and that we might, between us, promote the cause of happiness and encourage many more to live good and meaningful lives! 

PS: you can read the full speech HERE