“Set a daily quota of fun. Positive activities act as a happiness supplement.”

“Set a daily quota of fun. Positive activities act as a happiness supplement.”

—Mo Gawdat, Author of Solve for Happy

Image from Unsplash by Mindspace Studio

Where do you use metrics, milestones, scoreboards and quotas to measure your achievements and level of success?

Examine both your professional and personal life. What activities produce these results, and how many of them do you consider fun and a source of happiness?

What are some of the fun activities that come to mind that seem to be reserved for weekends, vacations, or other special occasions? Examining how you feel on Friday and Sunday evenings can be one way to see if your work has the positive elements of fun you look forward to.

EXERCISE:

What activities can and will you add to your days or begin doing to score more fun in your life?

What activities can you do less of or stop entirely to make room for these happiness supplements?

 

“Life is like dessert. Keep your fork; the best is yet to come.”

“Life is like dessert. Keep your fork; the best is yet to come.”

—Andy Andrews, The Noticer

Image from Unsplash by Max Panamá

Today’s quote makes me think of my wonderful wife, Wendy. We have been together for over forty-five years. During our time together, I have gained a far deeper appreciation and love for her and all that she brings to our lives.

Following dinner, she frequently asks for something sweet to alter the flavors from our often savory or spicy meals. She sometimes takes only a modest portion of the meal in order to assure there is room for dessert. Perhaps this is the reason she has become a skilled baker during the pandemic — to remind us that the best is yet to come.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can and will you save a bit more room for the sweeter things in life?

What would be the value of having dessert at the start instead of it being an afterthought once you are too full to enjoy it?

“There is a gap between stimulus and response, and the key to both our growth and happiness is how we use that space.”

“There is a gap between stimulus and response, and the key to both our growth and happiness is how we use that space.”

—Stephen Covey, 20th century American author & educator

Image from Unsplash by Brett Jordan

This past year has been disturbing and remarkable at the same time. My initial experience of the pandemic and other challenges confronting us was to become angry, frustrated, and down. My world seemed smaller and I felt increasingly confined and limited.

Eventually I stopped looking exclusively outside myself and began a far more intentional and rigorous journey within.

Through numerous practices such as meditation, daily walks, and extensive reading, I found the gaps. I took longer pauses in my thinking and feelings, which provided significant freedom and greater opportunities and possibilities to choose my responses.

Discovering this capacity to be increasingly mindful and aware of my own inner power has enhanced my growth and life satisfaction in many surprising ways.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you use the spaces between stimulus and response to more mindfully navigate life?

I’d very much like to learn about your efforts and progress, and hope you will consider replying to this and future posts.

“Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry.”

“Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry.”

—Toni Nelson, Author of A Beggar’s Purse

Image from Unsplash by Caleb Martin

Close your eyes and picture the following:

  • A bird with a french fry
  • A squirrel with an acorn
  • A dog with a bone
  • A cat with some yarn
  • A baby with a toy
  • A football fan with a remote
  • A kid with a cookie

Note that these examples involve an external/extrinsic source of happiness.

Venture within yourself to where the intrinsic sources of happiness reside. Notice that many of the best things in life are not things.

EXERCISE:

Take a few minutes alone or with others to create a second list of intrinsic sources of happiness. Perhaps you can also expand the first list, just for fun.

Feel free to reply to this post with what you discover.

“You carry the passport to your own happiness.”

“You carry the passport to your own happiness.”

—Dianne von Furstengberg, Belgian Fashion Designer

Image from Unsplash by Nicole Geri

When was the last time you used your passport to travel to another country?

If you are like most people, your passport is collecting dust and your plans to break it out anytime soon are remote.

In early August, our children and our grandson converged on our home in Michigan for a “staycation,” following a series of COVID-19 tests to assure safety.

With a dose of creativity and lots of love, we all racked up lots of happiness miles!

EXERCISE:

In what ways can and will you use your internal passport to happiness wherever you find yourself?

How can taking a “There’s no Place like Home” approach to life bring you greater joy?

“If you can be happy with simple things, then it will be simple to be happy.”

“If you can be happy with simple things, then it will be simple to be happy.”

—Neil Pasricha, The Happiness Equation

Barry, Wendy, and their family

Every summer when I was a kid I got to camp for two months at Indian Lake in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. I look upon those yearly adventures as some of the happiest times of my life. Our days were simple and always included friends, food, fun, and sun.

On July 1st, my daughter Rachel realized FaceTime was not sufficient. She decided to get a COVID test and bring our grandson Weston to Michigan for “Grandma and Pop Pop Camp.”

Guess what?

Family, food, fun and sun are still essential elements of many happy times over a half century later!

EXERCISE:

What are the essential elements—internal and external—of a full and happy life for you?

How and in what ways can you rediscover the happiness and joy in the simple things in life?

“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.”

“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.”

George Carlin, late American Comedian

Image from Unsplash by Alexander Schimmeck

George Carlin’s comedy routine “Stuff” is a classic. If you haven’t seen it—or even if you have—give yourself a five-minute treat by clicking the link and watching.

Where do you and your family fit on the “Stuff Spectrum”—from essentialist to hoarder?

Take a walk around your home and do a quick inventory of just how many possessions you have, and how much space is needed to store them.

The “pursuit of more” appears to produce more pleasure in the wanting and initial receiving than any enduring joy provided by the longer-term having.

How many online purchases have you made in the past few months? How many of these items still put a smile on your face?

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways could swapping out some extrinsic possessions for more intrinsically rewarding experiences satisfy your hunger for a more fulfilling life?

“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.”

“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.”

—Aeschylus, Ancient Greek Tragedian

Image of Garry Marshall from wikipedia

What do the TV shows Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy have in common with the films Pretty Woman, Beaches, and The Princess Diaries? They were all directed by the same man.

Garry Marshall never wanted to change the world; he only wanted to entertain the world. Based on his prolific body of work, he succeeded big time.

In the documentary The Happy Days of Garry Marshall, dozens of A-list television and film celebrities shared their happiest of days working with and alongside this kind, authentic, creative, and perhaps most of all, funny genius.

His work always demonstrated a celebration of the funny and real aspects of life that had us all relate and connect.

EXERCISE:

What choices and efforts can and will you make today to make it a happier day?