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Life Balance: Cant get no Satisfaction?

Do you consider yourself to be happy? You would be surprised to know that many Americans are NOT happy and do not know how to become happy. Does happiness depend on choosing the right career or having a high paying job?

As a country, we are richer than ever. Yet surveys show that Americans are no happier than they were 30 years ago. The key problem: We aren't very good at figuring out what will make us happy.

We constantly hanker after fancier cars and fatter paychecks -- and, initially, such things boost our happiness. But the glow of satisfaction quickly fades and soon we're yearning for something else.

Similarly, we tell our friends that our kids are our greatest joy. Research, however, suggests the arrival of children lowers parents' reported happiness, as they struggle with the daily stresses involved.

Which raises the obvious question: Why do we keep striving after these things? Experts offer two explanations.

We aren't built to be happy. Rather, we are built to survive and reproduce. We wouldn't be here today if our ancestors didn't struggle mightily to protect and feed their families. The promise of happiness, meanwhile, is just a trick to jolly us along.

"This is an incentive scheme for the benefit of our genes," argues Boston money manager Terry Burnham, co-author of "Mean Genes." "It's a very fundamental trick that's played on us, this lure of perpetual bliss."

Don't like the idea that we're hoodwinked by some hard-wired set of ancient instincts? Blame it, instead, on societal beliefs.

Working hard and raising children may not make us happier. But these beliefs keep society functioning -- and those who embrace them prosper and end up passing these values onto their children.

At the end of the day, only you are able to make you happy. Society alone cannot be blamed for a set of standards that may or may not let you be happy. Everything good comes from within - especially happiness.


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