Happiness and success are intertwined, at least if you define success for yourself.  It is difficult to be happy without viewing yourself as successful.  As the Grant Study I mentioned yesterday demonstrates, happiness is just as difficult to predict as success.  Here’s a soundtrack for today’s post.  Click play and read on.

Eric Weiner, a grumpy and cynical NPR correspondent, came out with a book last year wherein he recounts his travels around the world searching for the secrets of happiness.  It is an entertaining read, which, though not necessarily providing any great new insights, does nicely illustrate the recurring themes of happiness: health, moderate wealth, relationships, expectations, and outlook.  Here is the first chapter at the New York Times.

If seeing NPR and the New York Times mentioned together in one paragraph makes you shake your fist at the communist radicals taking over your country, you might try a cowboy guide to happiness instead (via the Pony Express Home Station):

  1. Never kick a fresh cow chip on a hot day.
  2. There’s two theories to arguin’ with a woman. Neither one works.
  3. Don’t worry about bitin’ off more than you can chew. Your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger’n you think.
  4. If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around.
  5. Never ask a man the size of his spread.
  6. After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
  7. If you find yourself in a hole the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
  8. Never smack a man who’s chewin’ tobacco.
  9. It don’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep.
  10. Never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut.
  11. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
  12. Always drink upstream from the herd.
  13. Never drop your gun to hug a grizzly.
  14. If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.
  15. When you give a lesson in meanness to a critter or a person, don’t be surprised if they learn their lesson.
  16. When you’re throwin’ your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.
  17. Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier ‘n puttin’ it back.
  18. Always take a good look at what you’re about to eat. It’s not so important to know what it is, but it’s critical to know what it was.
  19. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.
  20. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Of course one of the other tricks for finding happiness, to distill the entire field of cognitive behavioral therapy into two words, is happy talk.  Oh, and if you see Dick Cheney (“Dr. Evil”) or Nouriel Roubini (Dr. Doom”) at a cocktail party, walk the other way.

Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 20:08  Comments Off on Happiness  
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