The Definition of Happiness – Why are there so many ‘happiness coaches’?

The science of happiness

Over the past decades more and more researchers have investigated happiness. Some say that there is something like a ‘happiness set-point’ that determines our overall well-being: we become happier when something positive happens and unhappier when something negative happens and that after these experiences our happiness returns to the ‘set-point’. Research also shows that we can reset our ‘set-point’ to a certain extent, meaning that we can control our own happiness. Of course our genetics and upbringing also play a role, but still: we can control our own happiness for around 40%.

Creating your own and personal happiness

While researching for The Definition of Happiness, I encountered many life- and happiness-coaches. During my second week in Curaçao I met Ramon de Haan, who works as a trainer and coach. Not long ago he moved to Curaçao because he always dreamed of living and working abroad. As a coach, Ramon helps people to create their ‘own and personal happiness’. His approach involves setting goals, showing gratitude and creating an appropriate social environment. The people he works with create their own goals and solutions and Ramon helps them to reflect and set realistic goals for more happiness on the long term.

Ramon believes that people who set authentic goals have higher chances of becoming happy. If you want to have a happier life it is important to first look at what you are good at and at what motivates you. Doing something you like, something you’re good at or something you’ve always dreamed of will most likely make you very happy. As a coach Ramon helps people to eliminate thoughts that prevent people from doing what they really want.


Last week we recorded an interview with Ramon at Kokomo Beach. He chose for this place because Kokomo means “a relaxing place where you wanna be”, and that is exactly the point in life where Ramon is right now: in Curaçao, living his dream. When we asked him about the emergence of the ‘happiness coach’ he said he sees a trend because happiness is a popular topic. Ramon thinks that this focus on happiness isn’t surprising because all around the world happiness is seen as one of the main life goals.

“In every culture people have a different perspective on happiness. In some countries, for instance in India, many people try to achieve happiness by accepting life as it comes, while in other – mostly western countries – people believe happiness is something you can control.”

According to Ramon this is why there are many trainers and coaches focusing on happiness. One critical remark of Ramon:

“The assumption that happiness is something you can control can create a feeling of pressure because if you don’t create your own happiness it’s your own responsibility.”

By: Fleur Terpstra