Tag: Happiness

The Joy of Being Used


shutterstock_233760664Generosity is annoying. When a person is skilled or able in some way, others inevitably ask favors of him. A sense of charitable duty can make refusal difficult. Often, one is not feeling particularly generous when a loved one, coworker, or neighbor requests aid. Their needs are perceived as interruptions. But problems can’t be scheduled.

My brother is an IT wiz. It seems like hell. Anyone and everyone who runs into a problem even tangentially related to computers or electronics looks to him for help. To his credit, he always answers. With so many IT people offering free help to family and friends these days, it’s amazing anyone ever needs to pay for service!

My youngest sister is a physical terrorist… um, therapist. Everyone respects a knowledgeable physician, right? But the price of that knowledge is being the unpaid resource of every close acquaintance (and some distant ones, too). Family members don’t have to say a word. One just stands or moves awkwardly, and the help comes before anyone involved is ready for it. “Ouch! Um, I mean, thanks.”

Is Happiness a Moral Obligation?


shutterstock_112916848Every Friday, Dennis Prager devotes an hour of his radio show to the subject of happiness, a subject he also wrote a book on. Last week, he raised some questions that got me thinking. One of his points was that true happiness is earned. Do you think this is true? I guess I’d say that sometimes happiness is earned, the type that is akin to pride in accomplishment. Sometimes it’s nice to think, “I did that, even if no one else appreciates it, it took struggle and work and I didn’t think I could, but I did that hard thing.” That’s a good, happy feeling.

But sometimes, happiness just kind of alights upon you in the moment. You don’t earn it, it just finds you. Maybe something you did or are allowed that moment to happen, so perhaps in a sense you earned it, but that sure isn’t always obvious to me. So I guess I’d argue with Dennis a bit on that one; I don’t think happiness is always earned. I know I really treasure those occasions, sometimes full days, when I just feel happy and contented for no obvious reason.

Dennis also says happiness is a moral obligation. Do you think that is true? I do. We owe it to the people we love and spend our time with not to inflict our troubles and bad moods on them. We want to share our troubles in a sense, but at the same time we want to do it with grace and gratitude for the good things in our lives, which I hope is those people we live with. Sometimes it’s a challenge to (almost) always present a happy face to those we are closest to, but I think it is a kind of moral obligation because those are the people we influence the most.

Happily Engaged


RingOnce upon a time, there was this girl who didn’t see the wall this guy had built around his heart. She didn’t see the battle scars, nor the pain, but instead she looked right through the injuries and into the guy’s very soul. And she said, “There you are! I’ve been looking for you!”

This is where we push the pause button on our story, which by the way is as factual an account as if it had descended from Mt. Sinai on a stone tablet, in order to pass along some happy news. Yesterday, surrounded by family, I knelt before a woman whom I thought only existed in my dreams, and asked her to marry me. She said yes, and quick as a flash before she had time to reconsider, I gave her a ring along with my heart, happily and eternally.

Now, following the doctrine of preemption, let me answer some questions before they are asked, and tell you about Shelley Allen, a woman so amazing, with such a graceful spirit, such a radiant countenance, whose quick wit and humor give me face cramps from laughing and whose captivating beauty leaves me speechless and…well… I’m getting ahead of myself. Here, let’s have an interview.

Are You Happy?


Are you positive? If not, you probably won’t be as successful as you could be. We often hear the refrain “Be positive,” but do we really take it to heart? Or are we too caught up in “being successful,” in “reaching the goal,” or in finding the right person to consider how important it is to be happy?

I recently watched a great TED Talk by Shawn Achor, CEO of Good Think Inc., a Cambridge-based consulting firm that researches positive outliers (people who are well above average) to understand where success and happiness intersect. Achor does an excellent job in this short talk explaining how important it is to think positively. What I liked is that he gives some real practical advice on how to get started. I also appreciated his argument that if we think success will make us happy, we will never really be satisfied — because the bar of success is constantly moving. 

Member Post


Today is my 65th birthday. For the past couple of years, when Hubby asks me what I want for my birthday, I can quite honestly say, “There’s nothing I need, just use your judgment”. When I look at my life, I really do have just about everything a person could want. A good job, a […]

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What’s Your Advice for A Happy Life?


Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece by Charles Murray adapted from his forthcoming book, The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life, a volume that belongs on all sensible people’s bookshelves.

In the Journal column, he lays out five pieces of advice for living a happy life, which I’ve copied below along with brief excerpts of the accompanying explanations: