Happiness is NOT superficial…it’s much more important that you probably realise!

Happiness is NOT superficial…it’s much more important that you probably realise!

by Dr. Anthony Seldon from The Huffingto Post

Happiness is increasingly being talked about and taken seriously at both national and international levels. A recent, and very encouraging, example was the United Nations International Day of Happiness, which was celebrated for the first time a couple of weeks ago.

Yet there are many commentators who are uncomfortable with all this talk of happiness. Since I introduced happiness classes at my school, Wellington College, seven years ago, we have been assailed on all sides from critics who think that what we are trying to do is shallow, impossible, or misguided. The fact that our academic standards have gone up very significantly year on year is difficult for the critics, but it has not stopped their withering hostility. I wish censorious commentators and academics would admit it: their hatred of happiness and those who try to promote it is a product of their own limited view of life rather than any kind of statement about the possibilities for and entitlement of all human beings.

So let me be clear that what I am trying to do as the head of my school is to maximise the chances for deepest happiness on the part of my students. Such happiness is achieved through fulfilment, through hard work and through leading a virtuous life. Politicians, administrators and educationalists who are shaping schools around the world are profoundly wrong in believing that exam success is the only metric of value. We are developing generations of dysfunctional and misguided products from our exam factory system.

The most risible criticism of all is that an education directed towards the discovery of happiness is superficial. Have the critics not read their Aristotle? One of our greatest priorities should be to help young people learn life skills and attitudes that are conducive to living a flourishing life and making a positive contribution to society…

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