Have you ever seen Happy?
The documentary travels around the world exploring what people thinks makes them happy and trying to answer what actually leads to happiness.
Part of the documentary is about how common it is to chase extrinsic goals like money, image and status for happiness. Whilst having enough money to meet your basic needs is important, the documentary suggests that people are looking in all the wrong places to find contentment. When I saw the list, I instantly thought about blogging and how it SO easy to get fixated on all the things that can take all the fun out of it.
Money – It’s a perfectly valid goal to want to earn money from your hobby and doing something you’re passionate about could lead to a hugely fulfilling career. Focusing on money does have it’s dangers though. Risk: I’ll just build huge blog following, make loads of money from it, give up my office job and spend all day drinking coffee then instagramming it for everyone to see. Excellent plan. Mood killer: “Well this is harder than I thought/I’m sure everyone else is earning loads of money/I’m a FAILURE”.
Image – Devoting care and attention to your blog develops it’s quality no end and can create something you’re really proud of. However, in the age of ‘nothing is real unless I instagram it’, this can be a bit addictive. Risk: Better take another 50 selfies because my right eye looks a little weird today. Don’t want anyone thinking I have a slightly weird right eye. One of the 50 will probably turn out fine. Mood killer: “NOPE – I’M HIDEOUS.”
Status – There’s a happy thrill knowing that people have read what you’ve written or are interested in your tweets. But how many followers will actually make you happy? How many is enough? Risk: The eternal ‘more followers’ cycle. How many followers do I have this morning? Hmm, would like more. *more people follow* How many followers do I have this morning? Hmm, would like more. *more people follow* How many followers do I have this morning? Hmm, would like more. Mood killer: “WHY DOES NO-ONE LOVE ME?”
Building a business, carefully developing your style and having a strategy are all shrewd things to do to achieve your goals, but the danger is that it is easy to have an insatiable appetite for all of these things, meaning that every achievement may never be enough.
The Happy potential of blogging
The documentary suggests that happiness lies in shifting focus onto intrinsic goals, where blogging has equally high potential to fill you with the joys of spring.
Personal growth – pursuing your hobby, learning new things, writing about what you enjoy, building relationships with others, growing a sense of achievement; blogging has lots of benefits I hadn’t realised before I started. Just plucking up the courage to hit publish for the first time was a scary business and seemed like an achievement in itself. This blog has grown and changed a huge amount since I started and has gone in a direction that I never predicted. It gives me a focus and I get a little thrill out of completing a little project every time I publish a post.
Relationships – I’m naturally reserved, so I used to find it utterly bizarre to think that you would talk to complete strangers on the internet. Then, I slowly got my head around the fact that this is actually one of the best bits of blogging. You get to talk to people who are interested in the same things as you, or who give you ideas because they are completely different, or who are experts in something you really want to learn about. I used to be scared of getting horrible comments or tweets (actually still am), but happily the vast majority of people who I’ve spoken to have been lovely.
Helping others – I initially struggled to think of how blogging can allow you to help others, but I think you can share the love through regular, small acts. This could be about sharing causes you’re passionate about, giving free advice to someone who needs it or sending a message to someone who’s having a bad day. I could definitely do more of this in the bloggy world.
Here’s a clip of the documentary which is on Netflix…it’s a really good watch if you haven’t seen it already.
Photo credit to Jessica Polar