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We all just want to be happy. Let’s face it, to be happy is the number one goal we all share. I don’t think I have met anyone who doesn’t have that goal in life. I would even dare say that even people who face depression still have not lost the desire to want to …   Read More

We all just want to be happy. Let’s face it, to be happy is the number one goal we all share. I don’t think I have met anyone who doesn’t have that goal in life. I would even dare say that even people who face depression still have not lost the desire to want to be happy, they just don’t have the means or don’t know how. Happiness is defined as the quality or state of being happy. 1 According to Wikipedia: “Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” 2 The etymology of happiness describes the origins of the word from the 1520s as “good fortune” or chance, most specifically in Middle Age English or Old Norse from “hap” meaning exactly luck. From Greek to Irish, a great majority of the European words for “happy” at first meant “lucky.” Therefore, in the Modern English language the idea of happiness is still very much associated with luck. In German, the word glücklich is used for both luck and happy.

The origins of the word “happy” and happiness derived from the word luck. Welsh is the exception, where happiness equates to the word wise.

I propose and suggest that the state of happiness we all strive for has no real basis on luck. Even though there are those people we call “lucky,” those who go on wining lotteries, buying big houses, those who go on achieving all kinds of accepted successes. Evidence suggests that many of those people who we would call “lucky” do not necessarily end up staying that way. Let’s use the example of an individual who wins the lottery, not to say that this happens to all winners, but it often happens to people who win a large sums of money publicly, some cash it out and spend it very quickly, many even lose their lives as the sudden change in their lives is too much to bare, because they become the target for thieves and others who suddenly want so much from them. Some go on making choices with that money they later regret, like getting plastic surgery, or there are those who get greedy and want to gamble their winnings, in some cases losing it all on a single bet. Of course, I cannot say all lottery winners end up on a very unsavoury scenario, but indeed we do see cases such as the ones describe above. At the very least, we can all agree that winning the lottery will not guarantee happiness. There is perhaps one thing that we should first clarify, the state of happiness we seek is one of permanency, not really a temporary state caused by a fleeting event like attending a fun party with friends, having a good laugh after hearing a joke or watching a happy and uplifting movie. All of these would fit the definition of happiness, but only for a very temporary basis. In a way, if we reflect on what we really want, we are a being very unreasonable since what we really wish is a permanent uninterrupted state of happiness. In reality, let’s face it, this is not a very feasible goal, because there are too many factors which get in the way of making it permanent. In either case, whether we look forward to attain temporary or long lasting happiness, I argue that both require our own efforts to make either happen, rather than simply expecting it as we seat around and hope for happiness to manifest in our lives. When we look at it this way, we then start to take ownership of what happens to us rather than simply leaving it to chance. What kinds of efforts? you may ask. Let’s paint this scenario: It is 9:00pm on a Tuesday evening, you know you need to get up early the next day (say 7:00am) to go to work. So, what is a better choice? To stay up late reducing the number of necessary sleep you require to wake up reenergized and rested? or to go bed a reasonable time, say 11pm to ensure that when you get up you will get a good night sleep? So you think about your options and decide that it is better to be more rested, because it will impact the rest of your day. You also know to give yourself enough time to plan to have good breakfast, also a decision to impact the rest of your day, and enough time to travel to work. Once at work, you plan your activities, become aware of your meetings for the day, so you use time management skills to layout your day, prioritize tasks related to projects and obligations, while meeting expectations, not only this but you may have people you need to delegate tasks and follow up on. Lunch time comes around 12:00pm, so what choice should I make? Should I have a slice of pizza? which potentially could upset your stomach therefore impacting your day, or instead have a balanced lunch such as a salad, fruits and a drink? During your work day, you ensure you take walks at lunch, you take a walk around you work area, because walking and getting fresh air is proven to ease on stress levels, since it is a healthy activity. Come the end of the work day, you plan your evening, maybe you would have prepare a dinner, so you plan the ingredients you need to make you a pleasant dinner, if you are married or in a relationship, you may do this together with your girlfriend or spouse, every interaction with this person is key, what you say or suggest could mean the difference between an argument or a wonderful evening.

The effort in happiness stems from the choices we make, small and big, these is the power we have to shape our lives.

You see, in every moment of the day, you have a choice, as time goes, so does the number of options you have to turn your day into a great day, which translates and also opens the opportunity for pleasant moments to occur. Perhaps, there are events, such as the weather which can conspire to make your day better, you may call that luck, but I insist we do have a big role to play in living the rest of our life happy.   Sources used: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/happiness http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/happy#English

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