Art of Happiness

As part of my on-going Scout law project and in the spirit of reviewing the Scout Law of Cheerful, I’ve been examining the roots of happiness. One quote comes foremost to my mind on this topic:
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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” – United States Declaration of Independence as adopted by the Second Continental Congress.

In the United States, all we are guaranteed is the ability to pursue it. It’s up to us to make it happen.

So how do we do that?

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” – Kurt Vonnegut

This is beautiful advice. Make a habit of noticing the good things and it is amazing how much sweeter life tastes. I’ve made a ritual of this each morning with my Grateful Project and it has made all of the difference in the world.

Can We Engineer Happiness?

Possibly. I’ve noticed that setting goals, working towards them, and achieving them makes me happy. I’m naturally resistant to other people’s goals, so mine, as long as they make sense to me , are a great way for me to stay happy.

Life doesn’t have ‘easy play’ settings like video games. No. It’s hardball 24-7 out there. And sometimes those hardballs hit you with such force that it’s impossible to remember ever being happy. Or that you’ll be happy again. The best you can do is to keep plugging along reciting ‘This too shall pass.’

For the times when you can’t create your own fun, or you are stuck in a rut, I like to remember this quote from author Timothy Ferriss from his book the The 4-Hour Workweek (highly recommended to anyone looking to quit their job or get better at the one they already hold.)

“The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.” ― Timothy Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek

Keeping that in mind, I find action and production to be a great way at keeping myself happy. Your mileage may vary. Remember, you must be an active participant in your own survival.What sure-fire ways do you have to keep happy?

Gratitude and Cheerfulness

Somewhere along the line I realized that I use social media to vent too often. Thus, my public record reads as one of discontent. I’m much more cheerful than that! As part of my on-going Scout law project and in the spirit of reviewing the Scout Law of Cheerful, I’ve decided it’s time to change that.

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How does Gratitude affect Cheerfulness?

Everyone has their own personal list of emotional triggers. What makes me happy may not elicit the same response from you. But is there a universal experience that we all share? Is there something that can make you universally cheerful?

I’m not sure, but gratitude seems to be a good candidate for an indicator of cheerfulness. When you recognize a situation with heartfelt gratitude, you are stating that you are glad for the outcome. And you’d be hard pressed to find a cheerful person who isn’t filled with gratitude.

Try this exercise: make a list of things you are grateful for and see if that simple recognition doens’t make you immediately feel happier! If you’d like to try this in a public forum, join me in the #GratefulProject and make 1 post about something you are grateful for everyday for a year. You can see mine on my twitter feed. Alternately you can see everyone tagging their posts with #GratefulProject here.