happiness-1

Happiness Matters To You

If you want to live a better life, then you need to know that happiness matters to you.

Think about it: When you’re happy, you treat others better. Which makes them happy, which makes them treat others better. Etc. etc. etc. etc.

And, yet, how much work do we actually put in on making ourselves happy? Not a whole lot, I’ll tell you. In some instances, it’s like folks think they should suffer, because suffering is good for them. While pleasure and feeling happy is bad. I don’t understand those people.

Henry S. Miller, an author and motivational speaker, is a dude I think I’m starting to understand. He’s been a guest here before and talked about happiness then as well. This time around he’s going to discuss just why, exactly, happiness matters to you dudes.

Although some would have you think otherwise, the uniquely human pursuit of happiness is not merely some frivolous idle-time activity for the fortunate few. Far from it. Instead, it is a serious pursuit—a duty and responsibility for each of us.

 As the progress—or lack thereof—of human evolution has demonstrated, being in a positive, optimistic, and happy frame of mind seems to be what allows some humans to be more successful than others in obtaining life’s essentials: food, shelter, social support, even a mate. So it has always been and so it continues today. And if you still doubt the seriousness of pursuing a happier life, consider your loved ones. Fulfilling the duty of being happy benefits not just yourself but also those closest to you.

 The Benefits

Most of the benefits of living a happier life are familiar, yet they are powerful and seemingly endless—and they far outweigh the costs and work needed to achieve this state. Nonetheless, many in our societies often try to diminish the idea of simple, lasting happiness, instead extolling the thrill of peak pleasures and magnificent accomplishments. As a rejoinder to them and a reminder to us all, here is a consensus of what researchers around the world have proven to result from simply being happy, especially when compared to unhappy, sad or depressed people:

 • Success. Overall, happiness matters because happy people are more successful across multiple major domains of life including work, social relationships, income, and health. In addition, the relationship between happiness and success seems to be reciprocal: not only can individual success—whether in love or at work—contribute to feelings of happiness, but happiness also results in more success. In this way, happiness becomes an even more worthwhile pursuit, both as a desirable end in and of itself and as a means to achieve other significant life goals.

 • Personally. Happy people more frequently exhibit characteristics such as being strikingly energetic, decisive, and flexible. They are more creative, more helpful to those in need, more self-confident, more forgiving, more charitable, more sociable, and more loving. Compared to unhappy people, happier people are more trusting, more loving, and more responsive. They have greater self-control, can tolerate frustration better, are less likely to be abusive, are more lenient, and demonstrate enhanced coping skills.

 • Socially. Happy people have more friends, richer social interactions, Henry S. Miller wrote The Serious Pursuit of Happiness and he's given A Dude's Guide to . . . Everything a not-even-close-to-exclusive excerpt from the book.correspondingly stronger social support, and experience longer and more satisfying marriages.

[Excerpted from the book The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive]

Yep, that little ol’ note up there means it’s time for us to close up shop for the week. We’ll be back on Sunday with a little fun and video and then on Monday, April 18, we’ll have the second half of the guest post from the happiness matters dude.

 Henry S. Miller knows happiness matters. He is the author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness:  Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive and Inspiration for the Pursuit of Happiness:  Wisdom to Guide your Journey to a Better Life. He is also the creator of the online membership program Get SERIOUS About Your Happiness:  20 Transformational Tools for Turbulent Times. As President of The Henry Miller Group (www.millergroup.com), he is a speaker, trainer, and consultant helping organizations improve engagement, performance, and productivity specifically by increasing employee well being.

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Freddy the Flounder isn't a real flounder. For one thing, he's a cartoon. For another, he doesn't have both eyes on one side of his head.

Playing God

The snake convulsively curled and uncurled around the mass of pulped organs that used to be its stomach.

It wasn’t a big snake, maybe a foot and a half long at most, which probably explains why it lost so badly when it went up against a car tire while trying to cross the road.

I found the snake at the end of the nose used by Buzz, The Garbage Disposal That Walks Like A Dog, as he sniffed his way through his latest walk.

The snake didn’t look good at all. Most of its middle was smushed along one side, as if the car had only crushed one side of it as its massively heavy weight rolled over the small reptile.

My heart broke for the snake.

Yes, really.

I’ve always had these strangely timed bouts of empathy. Which goes a long way toward explaining the Incident Of The Flounder On The Floorboards.

See, I’d gone river fishing in St. Augustine with my Dad and a dude I’ve known since grade school, who I’ll call. . . um. . . John.

Anyway, we were pretty successful and managed to pull in a couple of pretty good eating fish. The prize of which collection had to be the A flounder is a fish with a bit of a mutation concerning its eyes. Because it is a bottom dweller, the flounder faces danger only coming from above so it evolved to have both of its eyes on the same side of its head so it can look up all the time.nice flounder I pulled off the bottom of the river and into our boat.

To keep the fish alive, we slid a twine into their mouths and then out their gills, effectively leashing them to the side of the boat, while still allowing them to breathe enough to survive. Eventually, we’d caught enough fish and headed on home. We put the string of fish on the floorboards in the car and headed out.

And I kept looking down at the Flounder and it kept staring up at me. With both eyes at the same time. Flounder are creepy that way. My heart broke for the flounder. So I took a wet towel and dropped it over the flounder, not to hide its face from me, but to give it enough water to keep it alive for a bit longer.

To keep it alive. I was trying to keep alive this fish that we were about to gut, then cut off its head and then fillet it before cooking it and eating it. No, I didn’t think it through all the way, that’s for sure.

All of which flashed through my brain when I stepped up next to the snake. There was no way the reptile was going to make it, especially considering that the midsection of its body was, essentially, glued to the cement by its own body gunk.

The only thing it could do was to die slowly, in agony, writhing on the hot cement of the roadway.

Buzz, The Garbage Disposal That Walks Like A Dog, was bored. Since I wasn’t going to let him eat the snake, he had wandered off to sniff some bushes and maybe scent a few himself.

I stayed with the snake, lending it some of my shade, and thought about the flounder. Buzz tugged at the leash harder and harder, impatient to get going.

I picked up my foot, ready to turn and leave, when the flounder’s face flashed through my brain again. Good? Bad? Indifferent? Right? Wrong?

Did it matter in the face of a short lifetime’s worth of unending agony? My heart broke for the snake.

 

I slammed my foot down onto the road, crushing the snake’s skull.

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Cameraphones used to be a big deal, but now every cellphone has a camera and some of them are better than single-purpose cameras used to be decades ago.

Of Course That’s A Camera In Your Pocket. . . And You’re Glad To See Me

We’re raising the most overexposed generation in history.

Starting around five years or so ago, just about the time that cellphone cameras became good enough to produce things that resembled people rather more than they resembled colored blobs, parenting has begun to undergo a seismic shift.

Back in the good-old-days, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and I had to walk to school uphill — both ways — in the snow barefoot, while dodging alligators every single day, taking a picture of your little dude was a bit more of a production.

You had to get out the camera from the back of the closet, make sure there was film in the camera and it hadn’t gone bad. Then you had to make sure there was enough or it might run out in the middle of the photography session.

Once that was taken care of, it was off to find the perfect outdoor light because flashes back then were — at best — more inscrutable than instructive. Once the pictures were taken, you had to then wait until you’d finished the roll of film.

You’d take the exposed film to a camera shop, wait several weeks to have the pictures developed (without any touch ups or changes) and then eventually bring them home. If you were lucky, you got maybe one viewing of the photos. Maybe someone put together a scrapbook, but, once the pictures were in there, they weren’t coming out. Ever.

Cellphones, digital cameras and, most especially, the iPhone changed all of that. Suddenly, we had access to a camera all the time. Not only that, but we could take pictures anywhere or any time. Once it was taken, we could mess around with it, give ourselves mustaches, maybe change hair color or background or make it into a black-and-white picture. We could see it as many times as we wanted, send it to as many people as we wanted, do whatever we wanted as long as we wanted.

It was to photography what the free-love movement was to sex.

When I first started out as a parent, folks told me that we would take a bunch of photos of our first, much fewer of our next and, should we have a third, count ourselves lucky if we found one or two of that child.

Instead, we’ve got a lot of pictures of our first little dude. Of course. Not so many of our second son’s early years. Then, round about the time our youngest came along in 1999, things started to change. The number of photographs blossomed with the acquisition of our first digital camera.

Once we began to have good cameras on our phones, the number of photos slammed into an exponential growth curve.

Instead of it being a special occasion, now I take pictures all the time. Heck, when Hyper Lad and I checked into our hotel room when we went spring skiing, I took about ten photos of only the hotel room. Just to set the stage. In case I needed them for something.

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even do much in the way of posing my subjects as I figure I’ll just start snapping away and eventually get the one I want without having to pose. Which is the good thing about digital iPhontography.

And the bad thing about digital iPhontography in that I have so many, it’s sometimes daunting to sit down and go through them all to find ones I want to save and see again.

Which is why all three of my young dudes flinch and start running away whenever I bring out the phone. They’re certain I’m going to start documenting them. Again.

And, for the most part, they’re usually right.

But the expense in time is well worth it. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent flipping through old digital photos, looking at my sons.

This might be the most overexposed, overphotographed generation in history, but I can’t make myself be worried. I love the idea that we’re going to be able to watch them grow up over and over again whenever we want to.

So, bring on Mr. DeMille because they’re ready for their close ups.

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