Is happiness a first world privilege?

Writing about self development has always struck me as an activity for the elites. People read articles like this one who
1, take voluntary effort to read non-fiction (=learn voluntarily)
2, speak English (a sign of good education in most of the world)
3, have free time and “free attention” (less likely for those who take 2 or 3 jobs with children)
4, have internet
5, ever gave a thought about self-development – something way more complicated than basic and a genre that often contains ideas on business, diets, body-building and a field that caters to the more successful or more determined.
Writing such articles rather than volunteering in very poor areas or going out to work an earn money has been easier for me after I gave a lot of thoughts on what’s important in life. (you can find my article about it in Hungarian here)
I got to the conclusion that doing something I like – something that makes me better might help the outer world more than doing something that seems important – but I am just not good at it (e.g. going to volunteer in those poor villages as I did couple times).
Self-development and making our mind more individualistic and ourselves more successful fits a lot into the (quite global and Western) world I live in. But after having traveled in South-East Asia for a couple of weeks this winter I just could not sit down to write an article for a while.
It seemed that the people living there, having very little but having a strong connection to the community are more cheerful, grateful and balanced than we are.
So how cool would be a type of self-development that doesn’t focus on business, diet, how to get richer and better looking but would cater to many?

What if happiness is really not a first world privilege?

Of course, a type of answer has been given to this question. Happiness (and even everlasting life, redemption, salvation, future lives and what-not) available for the masses? Of course. For thousands of years. It’s called… …Religion!

But I (and more than 1.1 billion non-religious people) need rational background.

Well, I have good news for us!

The “Flow” theory of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, US psychologist claims that “Flow”, a “the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity” (Wiki) – that I’d call happiness is available for factory hands, shepherds, middle-class employees and for the most successful businesspeople in the world.

Is writing about and trying to bring happiness as important as providing food, cleaning an apartment, fixing a car, developing a software or showing tourists around?

I’m not sure. But I love it and I hope it gives you great ideas too! 🙂

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