What Happiness Looks Like

If you follow this blog, you’ll know of my continued interest in ‘happiness’. ‘Happiness’ is the benchmark against which people measure the success of their lives, and yet, it eludes so many. We all do it differently, but one thing I know for sure is that happiness takes on a different meaning with time. Age changes everything. Looks, ambitions, priorities. We live and we learn…and we learn about what brings joy to our lives.

When you’re in your 20s, happiness looks like hitting the town, dancing till you’re a sweaty mess, and searching for a kebab at 3am. Later in life (for me anyway), it’s a late night sing-a-long with your mates, or spending time with your grandchildren. This shift in what we perceive as happiness is the result of something called “promotion motivation.” When we’re young, we’re interested in improving our status in life. Our promotion motivation is at an all-time high. We’re looking to get bigger, better, richer, faster. When we’re older, this motivation decreases and we’re interested in enjoying and hanging on to what we’ve got. A study of 12 million blogs illustrates this change. Young bloggers used words like excited, ecstatic, or elated to describe the feeling of happiness, while older bloggers used words like peaceful, relaxed, calm, or relieved. One is not better than the other, but the key is to recognize that in order to be happy you need to be open to change. And always remember, you only get old when regrets replace dreams.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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