This book title yelled out to me one weary evening at Sydney airport bookshop. This wonderful read by Oliver Burkeman is perfect for those like me who don’t quite believe the current obsession with vigorously pursuing happiness. In this book, Burkeman, looks at this topic through very different lenses from the American Motivational gurus, to the Stoics, to Buddhists, he covers a lot of ground exploring the impact of positive thinking. He questions whether real happiness comes from both positive and negative thinking and to eradicate one, is not only challenging but doesn’t in itself lead to happiness.
He talks about our aversion to failure and our bias toward success. Yet imagine what your life would be like if there was no threat of failure, if you always knew you were going to succeed – it certainly would be predictable and somehow less satisfying. As Burkeman states, ‘ But a more deeply counterintuitive possibility is that there is happiness to be found in embracing failure as failure, not just as a path to success- that welcoming it might simply feel better than perpetually struggling to avoid it.’
Funny to think that it may be our constant striving for happiness that is really in the end sabotaging our happiness.
A good read – let me know your thoughts…..