What Makes Us Happy And Why That Matters To Curriculum

Let’s contemplate what makes us happy.

In this peer-reviewed article, happiness is distinct from sustainable happiness.


Happiness can be bought, for the moment. It can be achieved and repeated with effort and accolades.

But these materialistic and task-oriented experiences of happiness are short-lived and require continual repeating and “upping the ante.”

In a materialistic definition of happiness, we might design curriculum to ensure that everyone has equal access to employment opportunities.

It’s this definition of happiness that permeates the current educational milieu and requires us to focus on curricula that provide an equal starting line.


Sustainable Happiness

On the flip side, sustainable happiness starts with making meaning, engaging with creativity, and exercising happiness.

Sustainable happiness is personalized, not standardized.

These approaches to happiness require an altogether different curricular starting point.

In fact, it could argued that an employment focused, standardized curricular approach altogether fails producing happy humans…or even, humans who know how to be happy.

Understand what makes us happy, in a sustainable way, should be the primary aim of education – an aim from which we can design backward.