I was reading a book review the other day on “Seven Pleasures – Essays on Ordinary Happiness” by Willard Spiegelman, and there were a few points that really hit home with me. What struck me the most was the title itself of “ordinary happiness”. What makes you happy? When I think of happy, I do not think of material things or success, for me happy brings to mind laughter, family, fun, and other ordinary things that we often forget about in our day to day activities. Are we happy as a society? Do we even pursue happiness? I must be fairly important because Thomas Jefferson (and George Mason) proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that we were entitled to the pursuit of happiness.
Do we pursue happiness? Is the definition of happiness different for each of us or is there a universal definition we all could share? The author lists his pleasures as reading, walking, looking, dancing, listening, dancing, swimming, and writing. What are your pleasures? What simple things bring a sense of contentment to your soul and smile to your face? I realize that I have more questions than answers in this posting but that is because, by nature, I am not a “happy” person so many of these answers elude me. I am more of the “Type A” personality who has the traits of being driven and goal oriented and I can tell you that does not really entail being happy (at least in my mind).
My wife Lisa serves as my happiness guide in life as she has the mindset that we should measure all we do on the scale of happiness and pursue those things that tip the scale in the direction of mirth and joy. Needless to say, we do not always see eye to eye but I envy her and I do not think that is reciprocal.
I think we should all put some effort into developing our own personal happiness strategy. This would definitely be time well spent. Last night I was talking to a group of MBA students about leading and evaluating people and each time I asked them for their experiences, most were not positive. It was even to the point that one student even said they were going to say something positive to balance things out (although by the end of his comment, it had turned not so positive).
I guess what I am saying is that if you have a “list”, move “be happy” towards the top and see what other things drop off. In that vein, I will not be posting anything new until next week as I am leaving this morning for Toronto, Canada with a few good friends to see Rik Emmett in concert.
See you soon,