Are we too busy to be happy?

Are we too busy to be happy?

I recently read this article in the NY Times which supports what I've been saying for many years now…

Family Happiness and the Overbooked Child


I LIVE in an area where most parents would rather cut back on indulgences for themselves than stop paying for their children’s activities.

Music lessons, gymnastics, horseback riding, tutoring, summer-long residential camps, sports teams — the list goes on and on. Often, so do the costs.

And even if the money is not there, some parents find a way. I know people who have borrowed from family, used home equity accounts and run up their credit cards to pay for all the stuff they believe their children just cannot miss.

“The experiences we thought kids had to have before high school has moved down to junior high and now elementary,” said William Doherty, a professor of family studies and director of the marriage and family therapy program at the University of Minnesota. “Soon, we’ll be talking about leadership opportunities for toddlers.”

To come clean, my children through the years have taken ice skating, tennis, violin and yes, even tae kwon do (of which the only residue now seems to be lots of colored belts around the house). Some lessons lasted a few months, some for years.

And what is wrong with that? Maybe we know that some parents go overboard on extracurricular activities, but aren’t these important for their children’s future success?

Somehow, not offering our children every possible opportunity “feels like bad parenting,” said Wendy Mogel, a clinical psychologist and author of “The Blessing of a B Minus,” (Scribner, 2010).

But in an effort to give their children everything, some parents end up not just depleting financial resources, but also their own emotional energy…

…you can read the full and original story HERE

But the reason I'm including it in this eNewsletter is that I think the problem goes much further than kids and parenting. Read on…

Following on from the article above, and as already noted, I think this is a problem that extends beyond parenting and beyond raising happy children.

I think this is a problem in these two domains but I also believe that it's something that's relevant to each and every one of us. That is, I think that many of us have become too obsessed with productivity at the expense of happiness.

Now that's not to say that productivity is unimportant; I love achieving things and I, personally, gain great satisfaction from accomplishment which as referred to a few weeks ago is central to Seligman's PERMA model of welleing.

But everything has a dark side; and if we become too focused on producing and achieving so that we feel we need to spend as many minutes and hours and days as possible doing "work" that produces "stuff" and "outcomes" then I'm concerned we're missing out on something.

And that something is, in part, happiness.

Should we not value reflection and contemplation and meditation just as much as productivity and constructivity? What are we losing if we do not?

As always, I'd love to know your thoughts; share with me/us on our Facebook Page HERE