The Happiness Market This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


     Entering a bookstore, one cannot help but notice entireshelves devoted to books boasting knowledge of the true path to happiness.

Books are not the only source for this growing market, either.Infomercials clog the airwaves with some doctor's (or even some guy off thestreet's) revolutionary new plan for becoming a happy individual. Motivationalspeakers provide guidance for the lost masses on how to lead fulfilling lives,enticing them with videotapes and cassettes that promise instant gratification.The great demand and profitability of this material has spawned even more plans,books and systems, further confusing a public eager for answers.

Thepopularity of these plans, books and systems is a testament to how many peopleare unhappy. How did we descend to a level where we must rely on books andvideotapes to help us lead fulfilling lives? Has the general populace strayed sofar from the path to happiness?

The happiness market certainly didn'texist a century ago. What did our ancestors know that we don't? Perhaps oursociety breeds this discontent. The great wave of recent economic prosperity hasnot chased away the unhappiness that plagues many. We have grown in wealth butnot in happiness, which causes many to question the popularly held belief thatmaterial wealth and happiness go hand-in-hand. This is quite confusing for theselost individuals, the very people who pump money into the happinessmarket.

Whether this wave of infomercials and books can actually makepeople happier is the question. Happiness cannot be found by adhering to a narrowset of steps or rules. Finding happiness is not as simple as following a how-tomanual, it is something that every person must find in his or her own way. If weall really looked at our lives and assessed what was important instead ofsearching for instant happiness through a manual or videotape, the market forhappiness guides would be nonexistent.

Because of our rush for instantgratification, however, books and videotapes will continue to be bought. Manyhave learned to exploit the happiness confusion that seems to grip our countryfor the very reason that causes much of the confusion: material wealth. Thus,even the people who make these guides have no clue. If they really knew how to behappy, they probably would not strive to profit by selling their allegedguides.

The bottom line is there's no quick way to find happiness. Thecomponents for living a happy life exist within each of us, and it is our task todiscover and assemble those pieces. It may not be quick, easy or even attractive,but it is the closest to an actual rule on finding happiness that has everexisted.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback