The other day I watched a program on TV where a family who had won a huge many- million-dollar lottery three times. The odds of that happening are so small that it is actually impossible. But it did happen to them and they got their millions from filling in a piece of paper.
I thought about what I would have done with all that money. No worries for the rest of my life, I mused. And a new car at last.
But yesterday as I was out walking in the forest with the trees dressed in their finest orange and reds, with the sun playing on my back, with wild berries still waiting for me to pick them, with birds singing in the background, with my dog playing by my side, I thought: Isn’t this greater happiness than a few millions in my bank account?
Of course the answer is yes.
So I thought some more about what happiness is. I thought about some of all the people I know, and asked myself who the happiest people I know are. As I thought about these people, I quickly concluded that it is not the wealthiest ones who were the happiest. Although some wealthy people I know are very happy. But I don’t think their happiness comes from their money, but from something else.
Today I read an interesting article that kind of answered my questions. Just like I thought.
1. It seems like happy people say Yes more often than others. They are always doing new and interesting things. And because they have an attitude of yes-ness, they end up in a lot more interesting situations than others, not so happy people.
Note to self: Say Yes more. Even if it looks scary.
2. Happy people laugh and joke more. They don’t take themselves so seriously. They are easily mused.
Note to self: Laugh at myself when I forget my dance steps and keep watching Modern Family.
3. Happy people say thank you often. They have a sense of gratitude and focus on what they have rather than what they don’t.
Note to self: Say thank you more often for things that I often take for granted. Don’t worry so much about the cool coat I wish I had, but on the one I actually own.
4. Happy people are good listeners. They don’t rush off to give judgement and help, and often don’t tell their friends they know exactly how they feel.
Note to self: Listen better and more.
5. Happy people speak well of others. They constantly say nice things about their friends and colleagues behind their backs. They want their friends and colleagues to be a part of their lives, and include them with their friends and families.
Note to self: Being nice feels better than being nasty.
6. Happy people believe in something and let go of control. They don’t all believe in God, but they believe in something greater than themselves.
Note to self: Keep my faith in God.
7. Happy people accept their imperfections, forgive and move on. They know that perfection is not the goal although they are constantly working on something. They are willing to see other peoples’ imperfections, forget and forgive too.
Note to self: It is OK that I am not perfect and never will be. Love me. Be myself.
8. Happy people are of service to others and have positive expectations. True happiness comes from making others happy.
Note to self: Do onto others as I would have them do to me.
9. Happy people are detached from the approval of others. They follow their own hearts without worrying too much about what others think about them. They recognize they can’t please everybody.
Note to self: I can’t please everybody, so just do my best.
10. Happy people focus on health, exercise and work-life balance. Most happy people eat healthy, and exercise and meditate/pray daily.
Note to self: Go for a run after this, skip ice-cream, and get up earlier for a prayer time.
I don’t think this is a perfect recipe for happiness, but it explains a lot. It sure challenges me to focus on different things than trying to get rich and getting a perfect body with boobs and a butt that turn heads.