The other day, I was having a discussion (that turned into a debate) about what seems to be a very simple issue. I am referring to the issue of happiness. The sticking point in our debate was not the fact that some people are happier than others. It went deeper than that. I just didn’t agree with a basic premise that my friend kept saying: “Face it, there’s no real formula to happiness. You either are or you aren’t, and there isn’t that much you can do about it!”
ABC News polled 1,500 adults and asked them this question: “If you had just one wish for your children, what would it be?” The choices were:
- High Intelligence
- A Successful Job or Career
- An Overall Happy Life
“An Overall Happy Life” was the answer given more than all of the other choices… combined. Amazingly enough, the idea of pursuing happiness is only about 200 years old. That’s because, for most of history, life was so nasty that happiness never even occurred to people.
I know many people struggle with happiness, and I’m not going to say I have all the answers. But suspend your disbelief for just a moment and imagine if it is possible to learn how to attain happiness. Imagine if it is possible to learn a handful of basic principles that would guide us to live happier lives. That would be some challenge.
Hello. My name is Rob Jolles, and I’m going to take on this happiness challenge. I have been contemplating the issue of happiness for many years, and over time, I’ve created a list of certain principals that I firmly believe, deep down in my soul, can make a big difference in the quest for happiness. Please be aware, however, that it would be absurd to think that I could do justice to this concept in just one, simple BlArticle™. I am going to try to tackle this in six consecutive BLArticles™ that will talk about several basic principles to happiness.
The true litmus test to what I’m about to share with you will be this: Anyone who reads this will have the ability to actively adapt these five principles. However, I’d like to jump right in and begin by addressing three important factors that have an effect on these principles; Health, Money, and Genetics.
Let’s begin with health. My personal doctor, Dr. John Valenti, said it best when I was in for an annual physical. With regards to the blessing of good health, he summed it up this way: “You need to eat right, exercise regularly, and keep your stress level down – and if you can do that – it really comes down to avoiding bad luck.” Words to live by, and as a side note, words that might just bring your stress level down a bit. Health is not fully within our control, so it can be eliminated as a core principal in this series.
The second factor is money. I’ll touch on this more as we get into the five principles, but this is not something that is fully in our control either. I’ll be happy to dispel the ridiculous notion that money is tied to happiness once we get further along. But in case you’re wondering, I will be presenting facts, not my opinion, to rule out the idea that money can make us happy.
The third factor is genetics. In researching this subject, I found that there is significant debate within the medical community about the role genetics plays in the pursuit of happiness. The debate does not center on whether genetics does play a part in our quest for happiness. Rather, the debate pertains to what percentage of us are genetically limited in our ability to be happy. The numbers can vary, but clearly there are those of us who will struggle more to find happiness than others. It is a genetic predisposition, and similar to the issue of health, we can’t change the genetic coding in our DNA. Whether you are truly genetically disposed to struggle with happiness or not, I still believe that what I will be sharing with you will be of help.
This series will run in sequence over the next five weeks, and I would like to ask one favor of you. Please don’t read what I write and figure out all the reasons why it won’t work for you. I’m asking you to just take in what is written, and then try and figure out how it will work for you. If you struggle with happiness, there will be a well-entrenched voice that will naturally try and pick these principals apart. This is a negative voice that some of us know all too well, and we tend to give that voice way too much power. You are in control, and you can mentally shut it down. If you need to placate that voice, tell it this:
“I’m going to read this miniseries of BlArticles™, and I’m going to actively listen to what is being said. After that, negative voice, you and I can debate it. I am committed, truly committed, to listening so I can understand what is being said. I am not going to worry about refuting it.
As this introductory BLArticle™ comes to an end, remember this mantra: “Listen to understand, and not refute.” I look forward to telling you more next Friday, at 6:00am, when the first principle will be posted. Until then, eat right, exercise regularly, and keep your stress level down.