when happiness is not enough

When Happiness is not Enough

Quick Overview

Happiness is such a simple, unifying concept. We all want to be happy. We all want to die happy.

But do we really know what happiness is? Do we really understand its complexity? Does ‘pure joy’ lie on the same continuum as a ‘quiet satisfaction’? And does happiness in itself lead us to live a fulfilling life? This book helps us to discriminate clearly between two fundamental types of happiness. It helps us to know ourselves better, and to make active choices towards a more fulfilling life.

The central theme here is that the simple concept of plain ‘Happiness’ is not enough. Instead, complete happiness is to be found by blending feelings of sensory pleasure with feelings of satisfaction through achievement. We learn to balance the excitable pleasure of the moment with the deeper satisfaction of achieving our established goals in life. If we can establish a healthy balance between Pleasure and Achievement for ourselves, then we learn to live a fulfilling life. And by applying the Pleasure/Achievement Principle to the lifestyle decisions that we make, we will learn to experience a far deeper sense of personal fulfillment in our lives.

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Health Professional Review

Health Professional Reviewer: Jodie Black, Counselling Psychologist, University of Otago. Reviewed 21 December 2015.

Book Title: When Happiness is not Enough.

Author(s):

Chris has worked as a Clinical Psychologist for over 30years. He spent a four year term as the editor of the NZ Journal of Clinical Psychology.

In 2007, he became a Fellow of the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychology, and has recently been made a Life Member. He was also a foundation member of the Board of the Aotearoa NZ Association for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (AnzaCBT). He is also a Life Member of the British Assn for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BABCP).

Date published: 2011

Suitable for: For people who feel that their lives is missing something that lets them be as happy as they feel they could be. Intermediate reading level.

Problems addressed:  Developing a better balance across a range of settings and situations.

Book Summary: 

Chris explained how pleasure and achievement need to be balanced in our lives for us to live life well. He looks at problems created if we have too much of a pleasure orientation or too much of an achievement orientation. Self-reflection opportunities and practical examples are provided to assist the reader develop more balance between pleasure and achievement.

Chris is transparent that there is no scientific evidence behind this approach. The recommendations in this book do align with other well studied approaches  and compliments approaches in CBT and Positive psychology

Strengths:

  • the book is written using non-technical and conversational language
  • the non-diagnostic approach may make this book more appealing to a wider audience as the self-help strategies are not aimed at a diagnosis but rather an improved way of living well (but still translatable to people  who have received a diagnosis)

Weaknesses:

  • High use of cliché’s
  • Examples provided may not be relatable to all audiences

Recommendations:

I would recommend this book for people who can see  that their life is okay and may even had a few successes along the way but struggle with the thought that something is missing, or a sense that they should be happier.

I can see myself recommending this book to students who have a strong achievement orientation  but discover despite their significant successes feel that something is missing and that they don’t seem to enjoy life as much as they feel they should.

Chapter 11 guides you to develop a personal plan to balance pleasure and achievement in your life and toward a life lived well.

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