What do you take me for, an idiot?
— Charles de Gaulle, when a journalist asked him if he was happy.
Happiness. You are going to be hearing more from me on this theme in the near future. Happiness feels good—but it’s also health building. You’ll live longer if you enjoy life!
But I’m talking about real happiness. At this time of year, we hear messages like “merry” Christmas. For most people that means getting drunk with cronies and finally barfing up in the toilet. That kind of “happiness” is not what I’m talking about.
I mean real, VAST, all-embracing and lasting happiness. The kind that comes at you in a tidal wave of joy. Walk with me, while I talk…
Profound Happiness & True Happiness
The truth is, it’s not always easy to tell, in a complex world, which course of action will do the most good, over the widest range, to the maximum delight of the most people!
That’s why I say, “Happiness is the new wisdom”!
It’s a smarts philosophy, as well as a good natured person’s approach. For sure, it’s not an approach where dogma works. Always do what it says in such-and-such a book, chapter 17, verse 23, is NOT the way to get good outcomes in life.
That’s especially true when said books were written thousands of years ago, by people who never knew the meaning of science; never saw a computer, motor car or a cell phone; had little or no music and poetry; and whose focus in life was killing anyone they didn’t like… who were, in fact, a bloodthirsty bunch of primitives.
I have some better markers for achievement and happy outcomes than that!
Take my 12 Channels Of Being. They are also 12 Acts of Being.
It’s like a zoning of life into different energy and activity channels, where you can compare input and output in each, and also one against another, to be sure you are getting close at least to a properly balanced life.
Without it, you can end up with a life that seems very purposeful and worthwhile…for a time…but then suddenly realize you sold yourself short and you are missing out on major leverages to happiness.
Take the story of Millard Fuller. He was a millionaire, had the ambition to make $10 million, and possessed the skills and resources to do it. He had a luxurious home, a cabin on a lake, 2,000 acres of land, speedboats and luxury cars. He was a huge success…wasn’t he?
Well, he also had chest pains, from stress, and his marriage was falling apart, because his wife and kids never saw him. It was a one Channel “success”; the other eleven were all-but ignored. Millard was certainly not happy. Neither was he healthy. He had a heart attack and could have died.
His story ended well, because he got back to balance in HIS 12 Channels Of Being. Millard gave up his jet-setter lifestyle and in 1976 set up Habitat For Humanity. He gave his new life to a bigger picture, which now included everyone else! Happily, it also included his wife Linda and the rest of their published story you can read at leisure.
All I am arguing is that it’s smarter to figure it out ahead of time. No use getting the message as you are waking up in the after-life, is it? No use running out of time due to age, the years wasted and lost, now wishing you had spent each valuable minute differently.
Be smart: get happy! But Profoundly Happy, not shallow trickery and treats that bring shallow and short-term reward.
Let’s see what that really means.
Sharing With Others
First of all, dispose of the ingrained American attitude that money is the monitor of all success. It can be on the table; maybe even in the first five or six importance’s in your life. But only as the instrument; never as the end in itself.
I’m not suggesting the cliché of giving all your money to the poor; I am suggesting that it has nothing whatever to do with happiness.
Actually, that isn’t quite true: scientific studies make it clear that if you don’t have enough to feed and clothe yourself and find shelter, then sufficient money to acquire these basics is a happiness factor.
But—here’s the kicker—as soon as the basics are taken care of (and that’s for most of us in the Western world), more money does NOT bring more happiness.
Wealth and happiness are not inextricably linked, as get-rich gurus like to teach. It’s clear to anybody who isn’t greedy by nature, that rich people are no happier than the rest of us; neither are they less happy. It’s just irrelevant.
What seems to count far more is getting the sensations out of life that thrill and stir you.
Getting involved with things that matter to other people is a great way to discover new avenues of happiness.
Be A Real Winner
Being profoundly happy is one way of saying you are one of life’s winners.
I mean a real winner; not some Darwinian lunatic who takes satisfaction in grabbing from others, cutting up other drivers in traffic, always trying to be “first” in line, beating out others for that promotion or grabbing that innocent guy’s gal!
In the words of the Bob Dylan song: “And the first one now will later be last, for the times they are a-changin’…” It was a song to herald a new world, which hasn’t happened yet, but I believe is daily getting closer.
I’m talking about a real class of winner: one who takes the whole world up with him (or her). In a way it’s defined by my 12 Channels of Being: different zones of life in which to get involved, make a mark and reap the rewards.
Funny thing is, if you give up something you want, to give someone else what they want, you get such a reward, it was like you didn’t give up anything!
Just keep being kind to yourself and the journey is a no brainer. As psychologist David Lykken says:
“A steady diet of simple pleasures will keep you above your set point. Find the small things that you know give you a little high—a good meal, working in the garden, time with friends—and sprinkle your life with them. In the long run, that will leave you happier than some grand achievement that gives you a big lift for a while.”
Happy Holidays…and make 2014 the start of Profound Happiness for you (I’ll be helping with some ideas).
Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby