Why is the pursuit of happiness a waste of time? Why is stumbling on happiness extremely illegally? Why is the bluebird of happiness just a nice i
Why is the pursuit of happiness a waste of time? Why is stumbling on happiness extremely illegally? Why is the bluebird of happiness just a nice idea?
a. Because happiness is not hidden … like a rare emerald in the belly button of a stone goddess … somewhere out there in the jungle of life.
b. Because happiness is an abstract noun … not a concrete one. It's impossible to "stumble" on happiness or even stub your toe on it. It's not a substance … it's something ethereal.
c. Because happiness does not come from bluebirds … no matter how pleased you are to see one.
What is "the art of happiness"?
Happiness is not an art … it's a skill. And like any skill it is learned with practice. All art is nothing but the careful camouflage of skills.
Is not it an artist's skill that makes a two-dimensional picture draw you in as if it were real … Is not it an author's carefully organized word combinations that create strong feelings or ideas in you … or make you buy stuff you do not need. And happiness is not a gift … a freebie from God. A woman once prayed … "Please God make me happy." God answered … "No! I will give you blessings … but happiness is up to you." We have to choose happiness … or unhappiness if we prefer.
And that brings us to the heart of the matter … the way to happiness.
How does happiness happen?
It does not just happen. Happiness is what you get after you do certain things. Happiness comes from you. It does not have to be pursued as if it has a life of its own apart from you … and was running off somewhere.
The first thing you need for happiness comes from Abraham Lincoln who said: "People are about as happy as they decide to be." So happiness starts within you … not with someone or something else.
When is the best time to decide to be happy?
Any time is a good time. You may be depressed even or stressed when you make that decision … like the starving Scarlett O'Hara who decided never to be hungry again … as she plucked a carrot out of the ground.
What's the next step after you make a decision?
Well first you have to test whether or not you've made a decision … or a just a wish. You can tell the difference because a wish is passive and must be grateful by someone else … like Snow White waiting to be rescued (even Sleepy and Dopey knew how to get out of that forest). Unlike a wish … a decision leads to personal action . You're in charge of making your decisions real … even if you get help from others … like Olympic athletes do.
Is a decision enough to be happy?
It's only the first step … then you have to make another decision to implement the first one. What will make you happy? Here's where some people fall into the trap of confusing the end with the means. Some people say winning the lottery … or meeting the lover of their dreams … will make them happy. But it will not … money … people or objects by themselves do not produce happiness. You need something else.
Which Scrooge are you?
Scrooge in Dickens's A Christmas Carol made money an end in itself. His soul was shriveled in miserly misery … and he gave generously from his abundant unhappiness every chance he got.
Scrooge found true happiness when he realized from his dreams that he could use money as a means … as the way to express … not acquire … happiness. And he ordered a big juicy turkey be sent from the butcher's for a Christmas celebration at his poor clerk's house.
But it was not the gold coin he tossed down to the errand boy … and told him to keep the change … or the turkey that made Scrooge happy. He was already happy before he did those things. So where did his happiness come from?
It came from sheer gratitude .
He had another chance at life … a chance to warm the world about him and so to find the depths of his own good natured soul … and to revel there.
With that sense of gratitude … the Kravit family would have welcomed him even without the Christmas turkey. The gold coin and the turkey were the result of his happiness … not its cause. And gratitude is the reason the poor Cratchits were so happy. Lacking the luxuries of life … they were grateful for having each other. If anyone ever calls you a Scrooge … just ask them which one? … before or after his dreams.
So … to be happy you must do some things …
First … you need understand that only you can create your own happiness … the world does not seek you out to make you happy. The goddess of the lottery is not looking for your ticket.
Second … you must decide to be happy because that will make you take action to do what will create happiness in your life.
Third … all happiness springs from gratitude . Gratitude for friends, family, people who love you, people you love, good neighbors, your pet, whatever health you have, whatever possessions you enjoy.
How does someone become grateful?
Gratitude is a habit … and there are dozens of opportunities everyday to practice it. And they're all easy. When someone motions you to merge in front of them on a crowded highway … thank them with a wave and a smile … the smile develops the habit of being warm toward others. When someone lets you through a door first … a thank you warmed by a smile helps you develop the habit of gratitude. Do it all day long … with everyone every chance you get. Gratitude is the proper form of deference to pay to anyone … servant and king alike. Within a week you will have a sense of gratitude the minute you open your eyes in the morning … and as you close them at night. And it's important to develop this skill of gratitude because …
Your values begin to change and develop and to open up new areas of life for you to try out. You begin to understand better what really will make you happy … and you invest your time there. You sort out more easily what is important and what is small stuff. You become more patient with yourself and with others. Other people seem to like you more … you seem to like other people more.
So if you want to find the way to happiness … stop pursuing it … start creating it for yourself.