Is a Person’s Happiness More Important than Their Success?



Yale now offers a class that teaches people how to be happy.

Kylie de Best, Photojournalist

Society nowadays has pressured students to take harder classes and attend the most prestigious colleges. Many people are expected to follow the paths that involve hours of studying and perfect grades. However, the fierce competition of achieving these goals can often lead to unhealthy amounts of stress and depression. Many schools are starting to realize the impact this has on people, and how the stress isn’t always worth it. Because of this, people are developing a kind of school that fits people’s personal interests. Through this, they will also teach them ways they can be happy and reduce the amount of stress in their lives.


One school in India, Riverbend, is trying to change the traditions of their country’s intense, competitive values. Instead of solely expecting responsibility and academic success, their goal is to see kids develop their own unique personalities. There are many positive outcomes that can come from this. For one, it will encourage people to contribute to society. This will make them feel they have a purpose in wanting to do better. It will also lower India’s high suicide rate, since that is so common in the country. LiveMint states that, “India now accounts for over a third of the world’s annual female suicides and nearly a fourth of male suicides, a significant increase in its global share from 1990.” Additionally, it will inspire new ways of thinking based off of experiences. To simulate real jobs, labs and test kitchens will be available to anyone that attends the school, giving people an opportunity to see which career they may want to pursue.


A common belief that has been shared is that suffering through the emotional stress and hard work will make people happy later. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Zachary Silberfarb (9) states, “a person’s happiness is more important because if you’re not happy, that’s not good. School is already too hard and stressful.” As seen in India, it doesn’t always make people happy later, and instead has taken a major toll on the well being of their citizens. Thriveglobal states that, “Since 2014, India’s ranking on the world happiness index has constantly fallen. This year, it ranked 133rd of 158 nations.”


Taking challenging classes and going to prestigious colleges may be stressful; however, it does not mean that people should not attempt to go on that path. In most cases it depends on the person, and how much stress they can take or if they are mentally prepared for that environment. For those that choose to go to a local or state college, they have many great opportunities, and can still get a well-paying career even if it does not conform to society’s views.


Although it is difficult for some schools to change their whole curriculum, many are doing something to make students experiences more enjoyable. For example, some classes at Yorba Linda High School have meditation to ease stress. Additionally, Yale has made a class about happiness, immediately becoming one of the most popular classes at the school. In this class, students learn about breaking stressful habits they may have, and how spending money on experiences may be more effective on a person’s mood than purchasing items. As you can see, everyone should do what makes them happy, but still push themselves to accomplish great things.