The question is, how well can we as human beings separate satisfaction with happiness? How can we tell the difference?
Say an average guy, on his average day, has only two good things happen to him. First, he walks to school that morning under a perfect sun - the kind that seems to stroke your arms with just the right amount of heat so you're far from shivering, but not sweating up a storm either. He feels himself soaking up all that precious vitamin D. "What a beautiful day," he says to himself. Happiness.
That day, his teacher hands him back an important test, and on it is a big, fat A. He studied hours for this exam; he had worked hard; he now reaps the benefits. Satisfaction.
Now, when Average Guy comes home that day, which event will he recount to his family?Which will put him in a better mood? Which event really had an effect on his overall happiness?
I say the test. He enjoyed the sun during his walk, but the satisfaction gives him pride that will really stick with him. Unless he's a romantic, sentimental type, he won't mention the sun again; but he'll think back to that excellent test for many times to come.
And say, just for kicks, that he'd failed that test. He would be filled with total, utter dissatisfaction. He'd be so upset with the fact that all his studying didn't pay off, he probably wouldn't even notice how lovely the sun was that day. He'd be cranky and dark, and most of all, he'd be unhappy.
So how good really are we at drawing the line between satisfaction and happiness? It seems a very human habit to confuse two totally different departments of life. (Does anyone else find that your life's hardly a perfect pie chart; that the different sectors your life completely blend into one another, and you notice yourself thinking about what you'll wear to that thing on Saturday when your coach is talking at soccer practice?) Why would we be any better at the art of differentiating these two semi-similar states of being?
Feel free to say otherwise, of course. Maybe it's just a personal thing. Whatever your outlook is, let us know.