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  August 29, 2014
The Secret to Happiness...

 


"Don’t worry...Be happy..."                                 

                                       ~Bobby McFerrin

Maybe because it’s summer and people have more time to relax their minds...

Perhaps it’s a better economy...

Still yet... it could just be a growing trend of feel-good movies and hit songs...

But whatever the reason... I noticed recently that people seemed to be fixated on the notion of happiness...

...what is it?... and how can I get it?

This past week, I’ve talked to no less than three different people who are in the midst of some crisis... be it imagined or real (well to be fair... for them it’s real... so I suppose that’s all that really matters).

Each one of these people is on their own quest to somehow find the meaning of life... but more specifically to be happy.

Now they seem perfectly happy to me... all of their basic needs are being met... they have ample amounts of food, clothing and shelter. They have good jobs that give them a certain amount of autonomy, directed purpose and a decent paycheck.  They have families and friends who love them... they are able to go on vacations and enjoy plenty of recreational time doing the things that they love to do...

In looking at their lives... they appear to be driven and successful... yet they have confided in me that they simple are not happy with their lives...

So what’s missing?

I don’t pretend to have all of the answers to life... but I know some of the things that make me happy and bring me profound joy...

First of all... happiness is not the act of bringing pleasure to oneself...

You may feel a certain amount of satisfaction and pleasure while devouring a box of chocolates... or buying a new pair of shoes... or taking that trip to a place that you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

If your favorite sports team wins a championship... you might feel elated for a while... but soon another season will begin with only a faint memory of the euphoria that you once felt...

Happiness is not something that you can buy... or even rent...

For me... true happiness comes from two things..

Being Grateful

Gratitude is the first key to being truly happy. 

Lucky One

I try to start and end each day reflecting on those things that I am truly thankful for.  Some people call this prayer... others call it meditation... others just like to think of it as positive affirmations...

I am truly grateful for so much that I have.

I am grateful for the country I live in and for the freedoms that have been legislated and defended for over 240 years... for the educational opportunities that have been afforded to me... for living in San Diego... for my parents... for my wife... for my kids... for my friends... for the safe roads that I drive on... for hot water showers... for clean water... for my job... for my health... for my God-given talents...

I am truly grateful for the millions of big and small things that have been bestowed upon me throughout my life...

This realization makes me feel good about my life... where I’ve been... where I’m at... and where I still want to go...

When there are two ways to look at a situation... I always choose to look at the positive side...

For example... when I was growing up... my family was the epitome of the working poor.  

Both my parents worked outside of the home earning a meager wage... we didn’t have a lot of money so we rarely went on vacations, drove new vehicles, or could afford to eat out... I shared a small room with my 3 brothers with two sets of bunk beds and two chest of drawers.

If we wanted some spending money to go to a movie or do other things with our friends, we had to go out and earn it ourselves.

Now some people might look at my situation and think that it was a bad thing... but I have chosen to take away all of the positives from that experience...

It provided me with a strong work ethic, an appreciation for money, and a certain closeness with my siblings. 

We didn’t have much... but we had more than we needed... and I am grateful for that...

Being grateful for everything that I have brings me profound joy...

Being Connected

Although some people might think that we live in a world that looks like a pyramid with a very few on the top and the majority of us at the bottom... this is not really true (unless you’re talking about the distribution of wealth... or book sales... or number of views of all YouTube videos).

The reality is that the world is a network of people each connected to other people.

Outside of our relatives, most of the people in our lives are there because we let them in. 

We need and want to be connected to others... individuals who are like-minded and those offering us differing perspective... people who challenge us to think and people that we’re comfortable sharing the silence with... friends who love us despite our imperfections... people who are there to share the experiences we call life.

I’ve have had the opportunity to travel all over the world.  Often when I tell people that I’ve actually been to 59 countries, they will ask me to tell them which place was my all-time favorite place to visit...

My standard answer to that question is this...

Every place I’ve traveled to has its own unique beauty... but what really stands out for me is the people I’ve had a chance to meet along the way...

Strangers in Paris who helped to provide me with directions in broken English (shattering the stereotype that all Parisians are rude and anti-American)... members of a rugby club I happened to meet in a Sydney pub... a small shop owner I met at an open-air bazaar in Istanbul who took me on a personal tour of the marketplace and then spent the afternoon with me drinking Turkish coffee... or the Peace Corp volunteers I met in Nairobi who described the various good-will projects that they were working on in the villages of the Masai Mara.

Remembering these experiences continue to bring me great joy... because I felt connected to the people not the place...

True happiness is found with people... and the experiences that we share with one another...

We need other people to feel loved...

We need other people to feel needed...

We need other people to... to play with... to win with... to lose with...

We are social creatures... we thrive in the company of others... people bring us happiness...

In my life... gratitude and connections are my two "secrets" of true and everlasting happiness...

With that said... your mileage may vary...

Pharrell Williams - Happy (Official Music Video)

Pharrell Williams - Happy

    
Thank you very  much for your support of OptiFuse.  We are forever grateful that you have allowed us into your life (and a special thanks to Andrews Matthews for his enduring friendship and the use of his cartoon above).



Jim Kalb
President

Email -  jimk@optifuse.com
Website - www.optifuse.com
Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com 

Twitter - @OptiFuse

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Crash and Burn - Chapter 2...

Choosing Wisely...

Playing the Blame Game...

Best Friends Forever...

The Lemonade Stand - Part III...

Business for 5th Graders Part II...

Business Fundamentals for 5th Graders...



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