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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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Word Of Mouth

How do you know that what you want to buy is any good?

If you’re buying something from a nearby brick-and-mortar store, you simply go there, take a look at it, heft it in your hands and get a feel for the object.

Then you go back home and do the same thing you’d do if you were buying the object, sight unseen, from a store on the internet: you look it up and start reading reviews.

I realize that there are some folks out there who are making a mockery of the review system, in that they are either hiring people to write glowing reviews of their product or scathing reviews of the competitor’s product, but I can’t think of a better system — when it’s not being gamed — for getting the unvarnished truth about a product.

Purchaser reviews are like talking over the backyard fence to your neighbor about her new lawn mower, or asking your cubicle-mate at work what he thought about that new Ethiopian restaurant downtown. You get to hear what each dude or dudette really thinks about the purchase or the food or the service.

You know that the person you asked isn’t being paid to speak only in glowing terms about the new nose-hair trimmer she just purchased. If you trust her, then you’ll trust her opinion of the nose-hair trimmer.

The internet, however, is a bit bigger than only your neighborhood. Odds are, you won’t know who the person recommending a product is, but you can be reasonably certain they are reviewing this under their own initiative, not because it’s their job to shill for Company X.

This came to mind last night, when I received a note from Amazon.Com that my review had helped another customer decide to purchase an item I got for Hyper Lad. It made me glad because, for a long while, I’d been reading reviews, but leaving hardly any.

That is just bad form.

See, you might recall that I’m a writer. (See A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook by Richard Jones and Barry Robert Ozer, on sale at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Powells.com and fine brick-and-mortar stores everywhere for proof.)

Since the book came out, I’ve been begging people to read it and then leave a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or anywhere they think others will see the review. The more reviews we get, the more people will see it, the more people will buy it, the better I’ll feel about the whole thing. (Which might not be all that important to you, but is oddly high on my list.)

I still don’t think we have enough reviews, but as I was brooding over that, I realized that I wasn’t holding up my end of the bargain. That is, I wanted reviews, but I wasn’t giving reviews.

Now, I understand there’s no big review toteboard up in the sky that ensures if you leave a review, you’ll get a review. But I thought maybe it was time to practice what I preached.

So I’ve been going back and leaving reviews for most of the items I’ve purchased from Amazon.com and other places. It’s taking a long, long, long, long, long (I like to buy things on the internet instead of searching for them IRL), long, long time. But I’m sticking with it.

And I think you should as well. I know you dudes and dudettes have read the reviews others have left, but have you left one in return? If folks don’t keep leaving reviews, the system breaks down and then we have to depend on the paid flacks for their not-so-honest answers.

No one wins when that happens.

Do your part, dudes. Buy a product? Write a review. Read a book? Write a review. Watch a movie? Write a review.

It only takes a couple of minutes. You’ll be glad you did.

You can always start here, reviewing A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook by Richard Jones and Barry Robert Ozer. Just a thought.

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Sunday Self-Promotion: Charlotte Parent

We’ve got a second home!

That’s right, dudes and dudettes, Barry and Richard are opening up a second home here on the internet. By which I mean that we’re not actually going anywhere, nor are we suddenly rich or anything. There’s just another place where we get to put a picture of us up an not have people wonder where in the most wanted list we’re numbered.

You might remember that we’re going to have a column in Charlotte Parent magazine every month. Well, things have changed a bit. We’re going to be in the print version of the magazine, which comes out near the end of each month, on the even months (February, April, June, August, October, December) and we’re going to have a new column on the website at least once a month on the even months.

I say at least because the fools wonderful folks at Charlotte Parent have given us the keys to the kingdom. Or at least the password to upload something to the website.

If you think we’re going to let that go by without abusing using it. . . Well, you haven’t been paying attention.

Not that we blame you, of course. We haven’t really been paying attention all that much ourselves.

In fact, we. . . we. . . Hnh.

Never mind.

Even though we’re going to be printed in the even months, we’re also going to have that column get posted on the website as well. So, if you’re ever worried about not getting enough of us here at the Dude’s Guide, don’t fret.

Although, maybe you should fret. Or see a doctor, maybe. I mean, you don’t get enough of us? There might be something wrong with you. And by might I mean there definitely is.

Moving on.

If you’re in the mood for a little fresh Dude content, you can find us on the Charlotte Parent website in the section on Charlotte Parent Blogs. We’re the Stay-At-Home Dudes column.

Come on by and leave a note. You’ll be glad you did.

Well, you’ll be glad you did that as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, maybe hitting your thumb with a hammer. Yeah, definitely more glad than doing that.

The Dude’s Guide: Better than hitting your thumb with a hammer.

I’m thinking of getting that embroidered on a mug or something.

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