By Jeenn Lee Hsieh
>Happiness is considered important to people. Why are the definitions of happiness different? What are the factors in achieving happiness?
The most obvious answers to defining happiness seem to be health, wealth and love. Beyond these factors that largely contribute to happiness, some people would believe that they are as happy as they make their minds to be. What, then, it is to imagine someone being in poor health, or short of money, or out of love, or any combination of the three?
In a certain sense, happy are those who appreciate happiness with a positive attitude toward life as it is. Their happiness may not depend so much on what they are or what they have as on what they think. That is, for them being happy is something like remembering the past, enjoying the present and planning for the future. Or simply someone to love, work to do and a clear conscience. Although they do not have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything. This kind of mentality seems to argue that happiness will never come to those who fail to value what they already have.
Second only to good health, a great deal of wealth is of course what makes a difference in life. There is no disputing the point that there are few things money cannot buy. It is good to have money and the good things money can purchase such as food, clothing, housing, cars, amusement, education and even health care. On the other hand, it is good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that things money cannot buy have not been lost-- love and friendship and compassion and passion and conscience and dreams, and last but not least, health.
Finally, happiness may be many a small factor as homely as home. When people look at their lives, the great happiness is probably family happiness. Money will buy a household, but not a home. Likewise, money will buy a bed, but not sleep. Books, but not wisdom. Luxuries, but not beauty. In fact, health and love being not the issue, money is a passport to everywhere, but not to heaven.