Real Happiness is Cheap Enough

“Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit.”

—Hosea Ballou, 19th Century American Theologian

Image of book cover "Happier"

In his 2007 book, Happier, Tal Ben Shahar, PhD, introduces us to different archetypes people commonly pursue in their “Happiness Journey.” They include:

The Hedonism Archetype, in which people pursue present pleasure and often experience future detriment.

The Rat Racer Archetype subordinates the present to the future, suffering now for the purpose of some anticipated future gain.

The Happiness Archetype finds enjoyment in their present efforts (i.e. the journey) while also knowing it will lead them to a fulfilling future.

EXERCISE:

What no-cost or low-cost activities, rituals, or daily behaviors provide you with enjoyment and pleasure, while serving you in realizing your personal and professional goals?

How can and will you insert more of these activities into every day, to lead a far happier life?

Happiness is When What you Think

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

—Mahatma Gandhi, 20th Century Indian Activist

Throughout my professional life, I have learned from personal growth and development thought leaders that, “Thoughts Become Things.”

As Wayne Dyer conveyed in his book Manifest Your Destiny, we all have the ability to influence and create our world through our thoughts, words, and actions.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can and will you harmonize your thoughts, words, and actions to manifest greater happiness in your world?

Another one of my favorite Wayne Dyer books on this subject is The Power of Intention.

 

All the Joy I Can Wish

“I wish you all the joy I can wish.”

—William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act II, Scene 2

Boys jumping in a field

Image by Robert Collins on Unsplash

With the holiday season upon us, and the new year just ahead, Shakespeare’s wish feels quite appropriate.

Take some real time to reflect on the people, things, and experiences that bring you joy and reach out to those you love with extra hugs and the kind words we often neglect.

EXERCISE:

How and where can you share Shakespeare’s wish of joy throughout your communities this holiday season, and all year long?

The Greatest Source of Happiness

“Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.”

—Linus Pauling, 20th Century American Chemist and Author

Image of a boy curiosity

Image from Flickr by Mohammad Abdullah

Rate yourself from one (low) to ten (high) as to your general level of curiosity.

Virtually everyone I ask to do this exercise places themselves in the six to ten range. A few even go beyond ten, to see what happens when they break the rules.

We humans are seekers, always looking around the corner or over the hill to discover what lies beyond our own knowledge and view of the world.

Consider our historic and current explorers.

Examine the risks we as a species have been willing to take to feed this craving, the boost of dopamine, and the feeling of happiness it provides.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can you boost your happiness index by becoming a more curious explorer?

Please reply to this post with the actions you plan to take.

 

A Happy Family is but an Early Heaven

“A happy family is but an early Heaven.”

—John Browning, 19th Century Firearms Designer

Image of a house under a rainbow

For many people – myself included – home and family represent a sanctuary of safety, peace, and happiness. It is a place we expect and usually find security, community, and the love we seek to give and receive.

How much time and attention do you actually give to your family during the work week, as well as on the weekend?

How often do you share meals together without phones, play board games, or engage in deep and meaningful discussions?

Far too many of us operate as ships that pass in the night. We only experience brief moments of togetherness, more often under the same roof, but not together.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can you experience far more “Heaven on Earth” by making your family a more prominent priority each and every day?

To the Wrongs that Need Resistance

“To the wrongs that need resistance, to the rights that need assistance, to the future in the distance, give yourself.”

—Carrie Chapman Catt, 20th Century American Women’s Suffrage Leader

Image of Carrie Chapman Catt & her quote

I love the idea that time is the Coin of Life. How we spend this precious resource, and those with which we spend it, makes all the difference in the world.

Fundamental to living a happy life is the need for purpose and having a reason to leap out of bed each morning. In other words, what are we giving ourselves to each day?

EXERCISE:

Consider these questions as you create and pursue your future:

What “wrongs” in your world need resisting?
What “rights” or causes need your assistance?

Feel free to reply to this post regarding the areas of life you intend to give more of yourself.

Small Joys versus Big Happiness

“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.”

—Pearl S. Buck, 20th Century American Novelist

Happiness is big business. Whether it’s that new home, new car, or new body we want – or even that deal on Amazon Prime – we are bombarded with what the world suggests will make us happy.

Deep down, we all know the temporary boost we experience with these “happiness events” quickly fade, and it is more often the simple pleasures that make our lives far more joyful.

EXERCISE:

Please consider sending me a list of 5-10 of your simple pleasures, and do your best to incorporate them into your days.

If you would like a bit of prompting, consider review Andrea Reiser’s Huffington Post article titled 101 Simple Pleasures to Boost Happiness.

 

Happiness Lies in the Joy of Achievement

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”

—Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

Image of a man surrounded by bubbles

Image from Unsplash by Brandon Morgan

If I could go back in time, and Roosevelt had asked me for coaching on this statement, I would have encouraged a bit of editing.

What if it instead read, “Happiness lies in the joy of creative effort and the thrill of achievement”?

I suggest that the time we spend in our creative efforts could comprise the bulk of our days, whereas the thrill of achievement is often more finite and short-lived.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can and will you use and apply your most creative and joyful efforts to realize the thrilling achievements and happiness you desire?

Seeking Happiness Outside Ourselves

“Seeking happiness outside ourselves is like waiting for sunshine in a cave facing north.”

—Tibetan Proverb

How would you like a 10% return on your investments year after year?

Most people would be pretty happy with those results, except, perhaps, for some venture capitalists!

How does that relate to today’s quote? 10% Happier by Dan Harris is a book I highly recommend. Working on himself through his meditation and mindfulness practice, Harris tamed the voice in his head, reduced stress, and still kept his edge.

Meditation has allowed me to create far more sunny skies, because I’ve realized that we create our own weather through mindful self-awareness.

EXERCISE:

Consider picking up Dan’s book, or another resource on the value of daily meditation to help brighten your world.

I highly recommend the CALM app if you are just beginning this practice.

To Drift is to Be in Hell

“To drift is to be in Hell. To be in Heaven is to Steer.”

—George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright

Image of hands on the steering wheen

Image from Unsplash

Consider how you feel when you read these phrases:

  • I feel stuck
  • I’ve plateaued in my career
  • My life has no direction
  • I’m lost
  • I’m not getting anywhere
  • I’m bored

Try on these phrases instead:

  • I’m excited about the day ahead!
  • I can’t wait to get there!
  • I feel passionate and purposeful each day
  • I am working toward my goal of …
  • My focus and efforts will get me there!

EXERCISE:

Where do you feel adrift, personally or professionally?

How can you experience greater happiness by steering and guiding your life in a more heavenly direction?