I picked up a book the other day about the "Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. http://happiness-project.com/
I am in the middle of reading it, and I like the overall message of how we can change just little things in life, our outlook - to be happier.
I look at the people walking down the streets or on the subway sometimes and I wonder - are they happy? They don't seem to be. Are they merely transporting their bodies and brains to an uninspiring cubicle all day? Or, are they inspired by their work? Perhaps it is just me, but the sea of black winter coats does not do anything for inspiration. What happened to the colours? Why are some walls just blank? Empty canvas walls fill in the city. We should promote an art program with the city to colour them in! There should be musicians on every other street corner.
Perhaps I am affected by the trip we took to Paris, France and Iceland last summer. Wow - those Europeans - really know how to LIVE - the art, the music, the food. Inspiring. They did seem happier. Colour was everywhere.
Perhaps we will also grow like that, as our young North American cities age. Perhaps our subway stations and building walls will also serve as canvases for future Impressionistic art. Perhaps we will have more musicians in every restaurant, cafe and brunch place.
Creativity, art, colour, music, how we react to situations - I think all play intricate roles in our own happiness. Scientists don't really talk about happiness. I am not sure why. Perhaps because it cannot be measured with any unit. Perhaps it's not relevant to some scientists. Perhaps because if you've published in Science, Nature and Cell, then you are allowed to be happy.
In any case, I think that we as scientists, can only address the issues in the world, if we ask ourselves - what makes me truly happy? What sort of work will make me content with my research? It's not an easy question to answer; but once you achieve it, you are all set!