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Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Category

So what makes a person happy? Researchers seem to agree that happiness is more a spin-off, a by-product, than something specific-ally pursued. So what are the most obvious precursors of happiness? Is it fame, instant lottery riches, dozens of serial lovers, international travel, becoming a suicide-bomber? (my hunch: the explosion cuts quickly into lasting happiness!)

Arthur Brooks, professor and author of Gross National Happiness, has studied the data at length. After sifting through the studies on most every theory, it’s easy to dismiss many false promises of happiness. For example, lottery riches seldom ever give long-term happiness. Almost 87% of lottery winners are broke in five years or less. They fall for unlimited (and grossly undisci-plined) self-indulgent and consumption. Then guilt takes over and leads to equally undisciplined charity to leaches ready to relieve them of their quickly fading riches. No lasting happiness here.

Neither are Hollywood stardom, politics or sports fame lasting sources of happiness. There is real temporary joy in a job well done, excellence and victorious accomplishment (ie the New Orleans Saints super-bowl victory!!!). But fame itself is usually far more a burden leading to depression, drug abuse and even suicide, than a source of lasting happiness.

So professor Brooks, what is it? Well, surprise, surprise the single most likely precursor to lasting happiness is Religious Worship. (Not yearly Hanukkah, Christmas or Easter attenders). Regular, serious worshipers are the highest and most likely happy people of the data. And second only to serious worshipers is Marriage. Yes married people confess to being far more happy than single people – by large percentages regardless of age or race. Is it not stunning that every sitcom has missed this for 30 years? When is the last time you saw a serious worshiping married couple as regular TV characters?

Another telling sign or indicator of real lasting happiness – Charitable Giving. That systematic charitable givers are far more happy than non-givers is a fact that shows up in the data over and over. Giving to a person or cause outside of yourself makes you happy – as does planning a generous and lasting Charitable Legacy. (Yes! I’m in the happiness business!!! :-))

So, if you are serious about upping the odds of being a happy person, do these three things: 1) become a Serious Worshiper, 2) Settle into a lasting Marriage, and 3) Become a Charitable Giver. Over and over again Professor Brooks shows the naked, embarrassing truth behind the facts – stingy, single, secular non-worshipers are simply not as likely to be happy people.[] (David E. Rockett, The Charitable Steward)

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