“If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy” explores how to find fulfillment

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Raj Raghunathan, an associate professor of marketing administration, delivers a lecture on how to find happiness Monday afternoon at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. The lecture was titled “If You’re So Smart Why Aren’t You Happy?” and is part of a speaker series aimed at helping students and faculty to lead a healthier life.

Photo Credit: Guillermo Hernandez | Daily Texan Staff

As students deal with mountains of homework and long work hours, associate marketing professor Raj Raghunathan claims many people simply do not choose happiness.

Raghunathan focused on how to maintain happiness at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on Monday afternoon in his lecture titled “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?”

While audience members enjoyed a healthy lunch — a component to happiness — Raghunathan discussed concrete research on the determinants of living a happy and fulfilling life.

“There’s a fine line between chasing happiness and finding it,” Raghunathan said. “The important thing is to prioritize happiness and not chase it. You have to pursue what gives meaning to your life and when do you do that, happiness is a by product.”

Raghunathan advised audience members to engage in activities that produce “flow moments,” in which time seems to stop, self consciousness is non-existent and all focus is directed toward that activity. Other habits included exposing oneself to happiness-inducing stimuli, finding one’s passion and practicing gratitude.

“We focus so much on our need for connectivity and we forget that other people perhaps have the same need,” Raghunathan said. “But when we are craving it, it shows that I need something else to complete me.”

Claire Moore, host and work-life balance and wellness manager, said Raghunathan’s lecture is part of a speaker series that invites UT students and faculty to learn more about living a healthier lifestyle.

“We cover wellness in a holistic sense,” Moore said. “Emotion is one of our categories and we wanted [Raghunathan] to speak because we wanted him to share his healthy habits so that people can have a better quality of life.”

Business freshman Sarah Walters said she was interested in Raghunathan’s thinking because he presented a new perspective.

“Money and how well your business does is the definition of success, especially at the business school, but he looks at the philosophical aspect and acknowledges that there’s other ways to define [success],” Walters said.

Jane Bost, associate director at the Counseling and Mental Health Center, said finding happiness is a process.

“It’s about having a sense of meaning and purpose in one’s life, and that’s a lot of what college students are trying to figure out,” Bost said.

Raghunathan acknowledged his plan might not work for everybody.

“This is for the people who are smart and successful,” Raghunathan said. “I believe if they follow this it can help, but it’s a positive decision that they have to make.”

Printed on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 as: How to be happy, explained