When people are happy, they don’t hurt others, they don’t start wars, steal, enslave or deceive. The fact that governments engage in all the aforementioned should be telling.
Most people are not happy because they don’t know what happiness is, how to achieve it or how to maintain it, all of which is learnable.
How is it that we can go through fourteen years of school and not understand something as fundamental as happiness? Many people never find it. How come happiness isn’t implicitly taught at school?
The reason most people never find happiness is that we have been taught to go looking in the wrong places. Jonathan Haidt, in his book The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting Ancient Wisdom to the Test of Modern Science, makes the distinction between being happy and being entertained. When you make yourself happy, that’s happiness. When someone else does it, that’s entertainment. In the modern age, we have been taught to seek happiness through entertainment. This is not true happiness and it’s not sustainable. It requires our environment to comply with our wishes and the untrained mind is not very good at bending the world to its wishes.
There is nothing wrong with entertainment and there is nothing wrong with influencing our environment to make ourselves happy. However, I believe an internally led approach is the only road to success in happiness. Some may be able to achieve happiness solely through an internal approach, others will need to rely on an internally led mixture of both. I do not believe anyone can be truly happy pursuing a purely external approach. Look around you for the evidence of that.
What follows is the outline of a book I have yet to publish because it is currently only based on one person’s perspective and not multiple case studies which would give it the validity I would prefer. However, I believe all the ideas that follow to be sound practices for the attainment of true happiness and it is well overdue that it was shared. Enjoy…
If you really want to get maximum value from this material I suggest you pick just one habit from my book and apply it in your life. If you already have a morning and evening routine, add a reminder to implement the new behaviour and a reminder to look back on the day and review it. Did you employ the new behaviour and did you feel happier as a result? Of course, it may take time for some new behaviours to impact your life. For others, the change will be noticeable on your first day, if you take the actions.
The 12 Habits of Happiness
by Mike Freeman
Since I’m quite sure I don’t have permission to use the wonderful title image of Pooh and Piglet here is a link to Winnie-the-Pooh: The Complete Collection of Stories and Poems. I grew up with Winnie-the-Pooh stories. They are exquisite. I would have no problem with these books being suggested reading in UK schools.