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Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

How to NOT be happy.

That was the title of the article that caught my eye.  It dealt with the top five ways to guarantee you won’t be happy.  Wow.  Really?  An article needed to be written to point out ways to help people understand that which prevents them from being happy?!  Because from where I sit, seems like there are a lot of folks don’t really need much assistance in this area.  They’re doing a mighty-fine job keeping the happiness fairy at bay.  Still.  I had to read an editorial that promised such brilliant insight to the subject, being on the path to happy as I am.


To be fair, one of the first things the article pointed out was this simple fact: For many people, it’s less work to be unhappy than to be happy.


No shock, Sherlock.


Then, the article went off to detail a lengthy, shopping list of items to guarantee how not to be happy – but I’m gonna break it down to bite-sized nuggets for your dining pleasure:


  • Set your standards too high. Then give your opinions about it.
  • Be alone as often as possible.  Let everyone know you’re a loner.
  • Talk about your grievances (big or small) often. Complain. Loudly.
  • Sit around.  A lot.  Power to the couch potato!  Sedentary rules!
  • Overextend yourself.  Write huge checks your body can’t cash.


Even the casual observer will notice that any of those items in moderation isn’t the worst thing ever, but turn the dial up to 11 and there’s your recipe for disaster or, at the very least, unhappiness.


In my electronic memory device (which is not nearly as effective as my paper memory, but it serves a purpose) I have a list of names and phone numbers of individuals that meet almost all of those bulleted qualities.  History will show that I’ve tried really hard to make these people happy.  Short of wearing a dancing bear costume, I’ve done everything in my power to bring a smile to their faces and a bit of sunshine to their doorsteps.  Turns out, happiness is an inside job.  But, we knew that all along, right?


The article didn’t offer any advice on how one goes about being happy.  What a way to leave a person hanging.  But wait a minute!  For starters, what if we just did the opposite of those five items?


  • Make an effort to find some satisfaction with whatever comes your way.
  • Find a way to interact with people.  They’re out there.  Everywhere.
  • Talk about the things that make you smile.  Or laugh.  Or touch your heart.
  • Introduce movement to your day.  Walk.  Dance.  Fidget, if you must.
  • Learn to balance your to-do list of promises.  Repeat after me, “No.  I can’t.”


Of course, there are modifications to be made to both lists.  We can’t have people running around happy ALL the time.  The dancing bear costume has to come out of the closet now and again if, for no other reason, it makes me happy.


It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy.  It is what you think about.”  – Dale Carnegie

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