May 20th, 2010
11:55 AM ET

What makes people happy?

Happiness is something we all strive for in our lives. But is there a secret ingredient to being happy?

We asked five faith leaders of varying perspectives to answer the question, "What makes people happy?" Their answers showed that happiness comes from meaning and purpose in life. It's in your heart and soul and can come from helping others.

And if you're looking for perfect happiness, it doesn't exist. But imperfect happiness does.

- Associate Producer

Filed under: Culture & Science • Leaders

soundoff (800 Responses)

    Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life and nobody comes to the Father but through him. The rest is man centered and leads to destruction.

    May 21, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      The Force is the Way and the Truth and the Life and nobody comes to The Force but through Yoda's teachings. The rest is man-centred and leads to destruction.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  2. Victoria

    Happiness is what we always strive for in life and spend everyday hoping will stay or get better. But it just never happens because once you become happy and contet with life, something occurs to bring you down. From there you build back your content emotions and fix the issues that plague your life to make you happy again. We would neer be happy in a world where everything is perfect and in harmony because it is the stuggle we endure each and everyday to survive in this society that makes us fight each day for happiness.

    May 21, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  3. Barbara

    All of the people mentioned are truly great personas. But, I seriously doubt they are great people. I know that at least 3 of them are not kind at all from people who have worked with them. Many of this type are highly ego-centric, abusive, self serving and have an unquenchable need for celebrity–this over-rides true healing /loving concerns.

    So...think about what you need and who you take it from. Be careful. And, just because someone is charismatic does not mean they are good for you. Trust me!

    May 21, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
    • ahuman

      I see you equate charisma with happiness. Not true. Those who are naturally happy know this from early one. Charistmatic people are often hiding things. BTW I have seen the most postive posts on here today from like minded happy people. I do not smile all the time and some think I am grouchy until they speak to me. My face belies my heart. Being happy also means being satisfied with what you have and those who are always yearning for a smile or things they do not have will always be frustrated. I was recenlty dx with kidney dissease and heart disease and I have no insurnace. Racking up bills but I may cry from time to time but I refuse to go down crying and fighitng and be sad. I have a disabled child that I will leave behind and I worry for her future but I know she will go to a good group home here where I live. I kow strangers have had to help me recently and I am in a long drawn out intl divorce, but I am still trying to find the good out of all this. I saw this CNN story and read it over the rest of the news they had today. If anything getting dx has made me be even happier. I do not want to die sad.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  4. Nirvana

    People are happy when they get what they want.

    This gives us two choices. Either work hard to get a lot of different "wants" or be happy by limiting what you want.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
  5. mike


    May 21, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
  6. alohaman

    "Peace of mind is the ultimate measure of success"

    May 21, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
  7. Raymond Chew

    You want happiness ? Simple. Make another person happy. The result is you get happiness (multiple times) more.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
  8. one bad woman

    All the money and toys and adult things we think we want will not make you happy. You think it will because you idolize and worship it. But if you are not happy within yourself you are wasting your time. You can not be happy around others. Contrary to whatyou think and believe if you don't have a merciful heart and help others than you are shallow and insecure and can't make anyone happy. Look within yourself and make the goodpart of you shine every day.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
  9. Chris

    Lol @ asking religious leaders who are already delusional. Most of these guys would say "money". They perpetrate the biggest fraud every committed by mankind. There is no respect in that.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
    • G


      May 21, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  10. Eduardo

    Good CNN ,you make me joyful, not happy or the other way around. More articles like that please

    May 21, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  11. justbhappy

    I like Abraham Lincoln's quote: "Some people are as happy as they make up their minds to be."
    Abraham Lincoln was a Bible-reading Christian yet had a draw back with his melancholic personality and losing his beloved mom at an early age and losing some of his own children later in life. Being happy and cheerful is a choice one must make daily. I find that "joy" as explained by Joel Osteen is an inner quality that gives you strength in diffucult times. The more superficial quality of "happiness" is just who you must choose to be like. Turn that frown, upside down.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  12. Bob Sacamano


    May 21, 2010 at 9:51 pm |
  13. one bad woman

    What makes you happy. Does anyone know the rea reason and meaning. You have to be happy within yourself in order to be happywith others. If oyu are not satisfied where your at. All the material, and things people worship will still make them miserableno matter what. Now the world we live in is not exactly at a happy people. Man has dstroyed this planet and cause the oil spil.The same way man destroyed it, man can bring it back ot life. It is your choice.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  14. WhatAboutPeople

    But Ochoo... if no one exists... then why bother at all? Why waste the energy in teaching something that does not exist? My only quarrel with those who claim happiness can only come from a god is in their methods of conveying this. History has seen this pursuit of happiness lead to wars- in fact the world is dealing with one right now. Don't know about you but the terrorists aren't making me very happy.

    And Noble9... you must play Warcraft 😛

    May 21, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
  15. TheTruth

    All the answers you will ever need or want about why we exist and what the purpose of human life is all about, can be found in reading the works of Saint John of the Cross. Ralph Martin of Renewal Ministries does a fantastic job of explaining John of the Cross. The path to destruction is wide and many people will follow it, the path to eternal life is narrow, and few will walk that way....

    May 21, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      All the answers you will ever need or want about why we exist and what the purpose of human life is all about, can be found in reading the works of George Lucas. Yoda of Dagobah does a fantastic job of explaining The Force. The path to destruction is wide and many people will follow it, the path to eternal life is narrow, and few will walk that way....

      May 21, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  16. Noble9

    What makes me happy? To crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and to hear the lamentations of their women.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  17. ochoo

    For those who talk of God as a myth no such being yadda yadda yadda
    How do i know you even exist?
    If you lose a Grand parent,Mother, Father, friend or relative Did they ever exist? to you maybe... For another not so So why would you trash someone elses belief or their belief system that lends to them Happines?
    To argue, dismiss, or cause any form of contention is anti-happines are you proud now? Live to your highest potential lend unto another that which they lack. Teach to those who do not understand. Listen to those who have wisdom. Become a force for something right something good be personaly responsible for your self and live within your means..

    May 21, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
    • Michael Wong

      My existence can be independently verified with various types of empirical measuring and recording devices by third parties. This is not ABSOLUTE proof, but it is scientific evidence. It is certainly FAR more evidence than we have for your Invisible Sky Man.

      May 21, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  18. WhatAboutPeople

    Funny how the majority of these people think that happiness comes from a God. Did anyone bother to read about helping other humans... I mean they are creations you can see, feel, hear, touch- why not help them and stop being selfish in your own pursuit of a being that may not even exist.

    It upsets me that not many people in the world take the time to do the little things that make other people happy- it is true that doing these little things will make you happy. Try opening the door for someone, or helping someone pick up some things they spilt. The connection you will have with that person will be more real than any connection you have with a spirit while kneeling in a room alone with a biased book in your hands.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
  19. thoughtfool

    It's an insult to our intelligence to ask only religious leaders for an answer to this. What do people who exist solely to spread their own irrational thinking, have to do with the state of mind of solely physical creatures existing in a purely rational world? BTW, anyone who actually thinks they have a "spiritual side" need only show it off on "Oprah", to become an instant bililonaire.

    May 21, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
  20. tilefish

    Nice to know that CNN turns to "people of faith" when trying to answer this age old question when religion often is the CAUSE of so much suffering in this world.

    Case in point: i have a friend who communicates to his other friend who lives in Pakistan via Facebook. And you know the rest....

    May 21, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.