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The Happiness Advantage

This post is taken from “The Raising Happiness Homestudy,” an online course I created as a companion to my book Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. I’m sharing one “class” from this online course per week here, on my blog. Enjoy!

Note: Because the course was designed to focus on one theme per month (and one instructional video per week) I label the videos as such, e.g., this video is Theme One, Week One.

“The mere search for higher happiness, not merely its actual attainment, is a prize beyond all human wealth or honor or physical pleasure.”


This video begins Theme One: “How and why to put your own happiness first.

Here is what I want you to get out of the video: We need to prioritize happiness in our lives, and our children’s lives, over all other things.

Please understand that I’m not meaning to say that we need to prioritize pleasure, or gratification, or that we need to prioritize happiness over basic needs like food and shelter (the absence of which makes happiness much more difficult). Rather, we need to prioritize positive emotions and resilience. This class will help you build the skills you need to foster both positive emotions (like compassion) and resiliency in your family.

In this video, I talk about how Aristotle viewed happiness as the “chief” or “highest” good. I like the way that Darrin McMahon explains this in his dense but interesting book Happiness: A History:

What, then, is the highest good of the craft of life, the good for which all others are simply means, the end that is complete in and of itself? In Aristotle’s view, this final end is happiness…It is our natural telos—the end we ought to reach if we live well—and our highest attainment to be won by cultivating the faculty that sets us apart from all other creatures and acting accordingly…Happiness, Aristotle concludes, is an “activity of the soul expressing virtue.”

Join the Discussion
Reflect on how you are spending your time. What “roads to happiness” are you already on? What beliefs, activities, and habits do you have that routinely bring greater happiness and meaning into your life? Don’t forget to consider activities that deepen your connection to others, including your children. The goal here is to reflect on what you are already doing well.



If you would like to download the audio version of this video to listen to in your car or on the go, click the link below.