No Shortcut to Happiness

A Great Idea …

“The belief that we can rely on shortcuts to gratification and bypass the exercise of personal strengths and virtues is folly. It leads…to legions of humanity who are depressed in the middle of great wealth and are starving to death spiritually.” (Psychologist Martin E. P. Seligman in his book, Authentic Happiness, p. 120)

In Other Words …

We like to find shortcuts to everything. Research has shown that there are no shortcuts to gratification, the fulfillment that comes from using our strengths and virtues. Gratification can only be achieved through designing our lives to use our strengths in productive activity.

How this Applies to You …

Rather than relying on shortcuts to happiness, such as television, web-surfing, or snacking, do something that builds a sense of accomplishment. You might make something, fix the plumbing, cook a favorite recipe, comfort a neighbor, or read a good book. Try it today. See if it doesn’t bring an abiding feeling of gratification.

To Find Out More …

For excellent (and free!) programs on improving your personal well being, check out The Personal Journey and Managing Stress at

For in-depth reading, we recommend Authentic Happiness by Martin E.P. Seligman or Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.

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