Posted by: slartibartifast | August 18, 2008


     I’d be willing to bet that the concept of Happiness, specifically the question “Are you happy?”, is responsible for more spontaneous unhappiness than any other word.

     When asked this question people have to stop and consider if they are, or not, indeed, Happy. This starts a mental cascade effect of self-examination which, probably all too often, ends with the answer- “No.” Then the depth charge goes off in their head of “Why?” That’s the Gotcha. “Why?”

     In the meantime they will probably answer the asked question with a non-committal “Yeah, I suppose” or “As happy as anybody.” It’s that second option answer that gives me pause.

     When people stop to examine their lives and where they’re at they have to ponder topics like goals, degrees, raises, possessions, debt, health, relationships with others, and invariably…success. This territory is the middle of minefield. Smart, well balanced, motivated people will take this dangerous territory as a challenge to do better. Most people will become more unhappy and neurotic.

     Inspiration comes from some of the most unlikely places. Back in about 1996 I was watching an interview with a drag racer named Eddie Hill and he related a story from his own life. He described how he and his wife were at the drag race track working on his fuel dragster in the pits and a spectator kid said to his parents, “It doesn’t look like they’re happy.” Eddie heard the comment and talked to his wife about it later. They decided that they could be doing much, much worse in life and that they were going to try and change their lives to be happier.

     In the process of trying to obtain this state they decided that they were going to find some small joys in small things, such as eating what they liked at every meal, and see if these small changes added up to more overall Happiness. The interviewer asked Eddie if it worked. Eddie answered “Surprisingly, yes.”

     I try to make Eddie’s method work, and to some extent it does. It would work a lot better if reality didn’t keep impinging on me.


  1. Great thought; thank you!

  2. Without hesitation – yes. Want what you have before you want what you don’t have.

    May Your Glass Always Be Half Full

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