“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.


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!


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!


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?


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.


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

“Happy millionaires do what they love.”

“Happy millionaires do what they love.”

—Ken Honda, Japan’s best selling zen millionaire

Image from Amazon

Someone once told me that money is a scoreboard for value. A second concept that I’ve taken to heart is: “Time is the Coin of Life.”

How are you spending your time, and what value are you creating in the world?

What is your current level of happiness and life satisfaction?

Research has proven time and again that intrinsic motivation – that based on deeply held values and beliefs – creates far more sustainable and lasting rewards than any external scoreboard could measure.


Consider taking a look at Ken Honda’s work, including his book, Happy Money. Lynn Twist’s book, The Soul of Money, is another excellent resource to help you live a more richly rewarding life.

“Happiness is the harvest of a quiet eye.”

“Happiness is the harvest of a quiet eye.”

—Austin O’Malley, 20th Century ophthalmologist and professor

image from Unsplash by Paz Arando

Who are the people in your personal and professional communities who experience the most Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)?

And those who seem to be always gazing over their neighbor’s fence to view what appears to be a greener, better manicured lawn?

To what degree do their comparisons and potential envy sap their happiness and satisfaction with life?

How do these questions apply to you?


Where would the quiet eye of looking more fully at the richness of your world help you harvest greater happiness?