Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Philosophy of Happiness (Task 2 Writing)

The following Task 2 Writing question came up on a recent IELTS exam:


Happiness is considered very important in life. Why is it difficult to define?
What factors are important in achieving happiness?

In the following video, you will find some interesting information that could help you to better understand this topic. It's also a great opportunity to practice your listening! 

(Additionally, a sample essay for this topic is included below.)



1.Who was Epicurus? 

2. Why are people drawn to material things? What is the effect of accumulating a lot of possessions?

3. Is Steven Perry a happy person? How do you know?

4. What are the three things that we truly need for happiness according to Epicurus?

5. How do advertisers appeal to our needs when selling us products?

6. Do you agree with Epicurus' requirements for happiness?


Happiness is considered very important in life. Why is it difficult to define?
What factors are important in achieving happiness?

Happiness is an elusive concept, which can be as difficult to define as it is to achieve. This is largely due to the fact that happiness has a variety of meanings which depend on a person’s culture, ambitions, and stage of life. Even so, the desire to be happy is a universal one, and there are some basic necessities that underpin our long-term happiness. I will discuss these ideas in the following essay.
What provides contentment in life can vary from person to person. An ambitious individual may find happiness in working hard and achieving goals, while a more laid back person may prefer to relax and spend time smelling the roses. Young people tend to need adventure and stimulation to be happy, while older people feel content when they have stability. It is up to each individual person to decide for him or herself what happiness means, and to spend time nurturing this need.
These considerations aside, it is clear that certain requirements are necessary for a happy life. Obviously, it is important that basic needs such as health and safety are met. People cannot spend time improving their emotional state if they lack food or shelter, or if they live in fear. Secondly, it’s essential that we surround ourselves with family and friends who care about us. These people act as a support group which can guide us through difficulties and share in our moments of joy. Lastly, we should pursue satisfaction in contributing to society in some way, either by helping others or expressing ourselves creatively.

To conclude, while there are many different perspectives on happiness, most people can agree that certain aspects of life should not be ignored. If we pay more attention to these, we are likely to live happier and more meaningful lives.
(Words: 281)

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