“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?

“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.

EXERCISE:

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?

EXERCISE:

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

“The grand essentials to happiness in this life are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”

“The grand essentials to happiness in this life are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”

—George Washington Burnap, 20th Century Unitarian clergyman

Image from Unsplash by Tyler Nix

Thank you for being a loyal member of the Quotable Coach community!

May you and those you love have all the grand essentials to happiness during this holiday season and throughout the new year.

Most sincerely,

Barry

“It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.”

“It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.”

—Arthur Schopenhauer, 19th Century German Philosopher

Image from Amazon.com

Can you recall any of the words from Madonna’s song, Material Girl? If you do remember a few words, I bet you can also recall the melody.

We do live in a material world in which dealing with our day-to-day physical environment is essential. For most people, life is filled with highs and lows, with varying levels of happiness along the way.

A surprising thing happens when we periodically move beyond or perhaps better said, within, to examine, discover, and explore our spiritual and soulful selves.

EXERCISE:

Beyond deepening your own spiritual practices, consider exploring the journey toward greater happiness within by reading, and studying the book, Toward a Meaningful Life. Perhaps discuss it with others in your life who are also ready for a deeper look around.

“If you can’t be a pencil to write anyone’s happiness, then try to be a nice eraser to remove their sadness.”

“If you can’t be a pencil to write anyone’s happiness, then try to be a nice eraser to remove their sadness.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Copper and Wild

When was the last time you tried to cheer someone up? When was the last time your friends and family tried to pencil a bit of happiness into your world?

Although well intentioned, many of these efforts don’t do the trick and can sometimes backfire, leaving others feeling worse. In such cases, perhaps a “less is more” approach can act as an eraser to lighten the burden.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom could your simple presence, care, and a loving shoulder to lean on be the way to support those experiencing sadness or loss?

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”

—Henry David Thoreau, 19th Century American philosopher and essayist

Image from Unsplash by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

Who are the happiest people you know?

I’m not talking about celebrities or even those folks who smear their seemingly perfect lives all over social media. I’m talking about those you truly know who navigate the waves of life pretty darn well.

As you explore the lives of these special people, you may notice that they spend far less time than most dwelling on the past, or being overly contemplative about their future. They all seem to take life in stride and make the most of their present moments until the next arrives.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you find your own eternity by being more fully present and launching yourself into the moment-to-moment waves of life?