August 03, 2010
On April 15
, 1992, Chris McCandless departed from his home in South Dakota and
entered the Alaskan wilderness in search for his inner being and happiness. For ninety days,
Chris McCandless wandered the Alaskan wilderness with little equipment and no guidance or
direction. And subsequently, ninety days later a team of men found Chris McCandless in a bus
alone, malnourished, and dead.
Chris McCandless’ pursuit of happiness, as described in the
book ,“Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer, was too demanding for his own good.
What drove Chris
McCandless into going through such a deadly expedition for the pursuit of happiness?
McCandless’s expedition for the pursuit of happiness was strictly for the benefit of his own
happiness and self-being. However, McCandless’s so-called ‘pursuit’ could only be obtained in
one way: by boosting the self-esteem. High self-esteem is an essential ingredient to achieve
success and happiness. Self-esteem is how we conceptualize ourselves; it reflects the confidence
level of an individual. While it appears that the significance of a ‘confident’ self-esteem is
somewhat understood, the unrequited question has always been about how to improve, or
enhance, an individuals’ self-esteem. Daniel Gilbert, author of “Immune to Reality”, believes
that, not only does our own self-esteem influence our happiness, but also our own psychological
immune system, which also boosts our self-esteem. Gilbert theorized that intense sufferings,
such as the hardships that Chris McCandless endured, can boost self-esteem and subsequently,
The benefit for the ‘self’ and self-esteem, along with the psychological immune
system, are the primary components that are present in the pursuit and definition of happiness.