When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life.
– John Lennon
John Lennon on Happiness (8″x8″ PDF)
You are free to print and share, but not to sell.
I saw this viral video a while back and I uncovered it again recently and I’m stunned at how true it rings. Louis CK is a riot, regardless, and I must be close to the same age since I get all his references.
Watch the video and I’ll continue.
He’s totally right! I noticed the other day that the youngest kid in the house, who has a DSi, an iPod Touch, a PSP (all which he bought himself, I must add), and access to a PS3 actually said he needed an iMac so he could get online. I asked why and he said, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”
When I pointed out everything he had to play with he simply said, “Yeah, but I don’t have anything new like on the internet where there’s always something new.”
I was quite taken aback until I remembered this video and realized how often we all focus on what we don’t have, or the things we don’t want. This, in turn, keeps the things we really want out of reach by not being on our minds.
Some people laugh or criticize the movie The Secret for being too simplistic and unrealistic in it’s approach. Specifically in the naive belief that all it takes is to want something and you’ll get it. Even the people in that film, in other films and products, ended up promoting action instead of simple thought.
But here’s the thing I learned over the past few years, and that is thinking and focusing on what you want will get you farther than thinking and focusing on what you don’t want.
But HOW IN THE WORLD do you NOT think of an elephant once you’re thinking about one?
Practice. Focus. Add emotion. Stir.
I’ve been a graphic designer for nearly 25 years. On the side, I’ve done art, music, and writing. Lately, words have been spilling out. “I’m not a writer,” the voice inside my head says. But I’ve decided to tell the voice, “Thank you,” and moving forward.
Am I giving up on Graphic Design, Web Design, and other Commercial Creative endeavors? No way! I have too much fun at it! ‘Only children see things as black and white,’ the saying goes. Part of this process is that I have been working for a long while on changing the words “but” and “or” to be, simply…”and.”
I need lots of work. Some serious practice, experience, and goals to accomplish this.
There are several other things I want to accomplish. Too numerous to list here, actually. But, stay tuned, and you’ll get to hear all about how amazing things are and how happy I am in the exploration and journey.
What do YOU think is so amazing and/or makes YOU happy?
I finally get why I have a collection of “Happy Face” things in my possession. I have a piggy bank, a pair of boxer shorts, a tee-shirt, buttons, I had a tie (I’ve lost), and there are a number of other things I have owned over the years. Not to mention one of my first pet’s name was Happy (I wonder if she really DID go to live on a farm or not? Hrmmm.)
Because I WANT to be happy! Who doesn’t?
This summer, I discovered that July 10th was International Happiness Day. Being the curious fellow I am, I dug deeper and found out about Sustainable Happiness and Positive Psychology. No kidding! I found an American Happiness Association and a woman who teaches Sustainable Happiness, the incredible Dr. Aymee Coget.
After much reading, I discovered I could create a Happiness Club, so… I did. And we’re JUST getting started.
“So, Eric, in a nutshell, what’s up with this happiness stuff?”
I’m only still learning, but what I do know is that Happiness is a Choice. The most simple explanation is you set your mind for positive activity. When you stub your toe, you can let it ruin your whole day setting into motion one bad thing after another, OR you can laugh and say, “I should have moved that YESTERDAY!”
But it’s not just a ‘woo-woo,’ touchy-feelie, whim someone has made up. Rather, happiness has measured scientific Benefits in life, such as:
- Happiness brings large social rewards and interactions, superior work outcomes including higher income, more energy and activity, greater self-control and coping abilities, a bolstered immune system, and longevity.
- Happy people demonstrate a self-serving bias, believing they are healthier, able to get along better with others, are more fun, have good ideas, are more intelligent, and are more ethical than others.
- People who are positive about aging live 7.5 years longer than those with less positive perceptions. Interestingly, this benefit surpasses the results for smoking cessation, exercise, and obesity control.
- People with increased SWB (subjective well-being) demonstrate high personal confidence, self-esteem, personal mastery, and control.
- Happy people feel like they are in control and are empowered.
- And several more can be found by Sandi Smith, COO of the American Happiness Association, here with research sources…
Plus…Happy people have better sex. Nuff said.
So, do YOU want to live a more happy life?
Make a choice today. Join the club. Join the Association. Hire a coach (like I have). Or read a book.
The choice is yours.
What will you do?
(Photo: Eric, Kate, Bob the mascot, and doing aerial feats is Jon)