For most of us, the pursuit of happiness is the ultimate goal of existence: it gives us hope and a reason for living, motivating us to go on in spite of life's setbacks. Through coaching work with senior executives, Manfred Kets de Vries discovered that many of them lacked self-knowledge and as a result had suffered from profound periods of unhappiness. He concluded that self-knowledge and the pursuit of happiness are inextricably linked and that in the absence of self-knowledge, true happiness will always elude us.
In this essay, each of these three dimensions is reviewed. The need to achieve balance in life is explored. The dichotomy between outward success and inner success is looked at. The importance of play in people's lives is examined. The role of stress another important topic in the happiness equation-is investigated. It is argued that in the search for happiness, humankind's exploratory needs have to be taken into consideration; people have to strive for authenticity; and an effort needs to be made to know oneself.
Also available in Dutch and Estonian.
His work has revealed the four keys to happiness: maintain a positive state of mind, be self-reliant and use your initiative, accept that self-pity and quitting don't bring happiness, and strive to feel in control.
In Dutch - Het Geluk: Een Handleiding
In Estonian - Õnne Valem, Mõtteid õnnest ja edust, Pegasus, 2003
In Russian. Alpina, 2004
In Hungarian, Helikion, 2005
Random House, 2002