The True Meaning of Happiness

The True Meaning of Happiness

In one of my recent Audible podcasts / audiobooks, Habits for Greatness (HERE), I essentially invite you to learn from a range of great people about what living a great life can be like.

In short, my message is that there are lessons for happiness all around is and that if we’re just mindful, observant, and willing to try new things then we can live a great life too.

Well, in this fascinating article from the Atlantic, Caleb Madison outlines what we can learn about happiness from … the Vikings!

Sound interesting? Then keep on reading …

What does it mean to be “happy”?

Our Declaration of Independence, an absolute banger of a foundational document, famously lists “the pursuit of happiness” as one of our three inalienable rights—the only one complex enough to warrant an entire verbal clause. Unlike life and liberty, which are fixed qualities, our Founding Fathers seemed to think of happiness as something to pursue rather than possess. Indeed, the word itself seems to represent the end goal of almost every human pursuit. But what exactly does it mean, this symbolic objective of all earthly activity? It certainly encompasses a range of good vibes, from blissful peace to manic ecstasy. But the word’s etymological journey reveals some common qualities, which have helped me on my journey to absolute blissful contentment (I am never sad).

In addition to famously being a warm gunhappiness comes to modern English from my favorite syllable in all of Old Norse, hap, which, if you ever find yourself in 13th-century Scandinavia, can be used to mean “chance, luck, fortune, or fate.” A potent and mischievous root word, hap has weaseled its way into English across grammatical categories, from perhaps (literally, “through fate”) to haphazard (“dangerous chance”) to hapless (“lacking luck”). My favorite happy cognate comes to us from the verbified version of the Old Norse word—to make anything into a verb, Vikings would just add -en, giving us happen as hap’s active form. What happens is literally just chance in action…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE