Magazine article Work & Family Life

You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Lead a Richer, Happier Life

Magazine article Work & Family Life

You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Lead a Richer, Happier Life

Article excerpt

Most people are interested in the subject of happiness, says Tal BenlShahar, Ph.D., and he should know. He's written the books Happier and Even Happier, teaches a course in happiness at Harvard University, and lectures all over the world on this topic.

What the author has found consistently is that when people say they are unhappy, they usually mean they are not happy "all of the time." They assume that truly happy people are somehow immune from feelings of sadness, fear and anxiety - or from experiencing failure or major setbacks in their lives.

"The pervasiveness of this assumption - across generations, continents and cultures - made me realize something astounding," writes Dr. Ben-Shahar. "I was surrounded by perfectionists."

His new book, Being Happy, looks at "perfectionism" and how it can become an obstacle to a happier life. He describes two ways of living that provide an important key to our understanding of success and self-fulfillment: the "Perfectionist" and "Optimalist," and there's a bit of both in all of us. …

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