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“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather recognizing and appreciating what we do.” – Frederick Keonig

A few days ago, I talked with a friend of mine.  I phoned her with a business question and we ended up talking about happiness.  It was an interesting conversation.

My friend told me she is switching to a new career.  She wants to do something completely different,  something that would have more personal meaning.

As she spoke about her life and career, she mentioned a book she hopes to read.  Maybe you have read it yourself.  It is called, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  It is a part-memoir and part self-help book about a woman who dedicated a year of her life to happiness.  She called her yearlong quest The Happiness Project. Each month she made a new resolution toward her goal of happiness.

My friend has not read the book yet, but is very interested.  She is also interested in starting a Happiness Project group.  The Happiness Project group is people who come together to work on a yearlong project toward happiness.

While I was talking to her, she mentioned that I would be a great person to start-up a Happiness Project group.  We went from talking about business, to discussing how I should become a group leader.  As you can imagine, I was caught off guard by her suggestion.  Me, a happiness leader?  I can tell you, this thought has never entered my mind.

I am considering reading the book, but the group leader stuff is something I will need to think about.  I do not consider myself an expert on happiness.  I am like most people.  Some days I am very happy and others I am not.  How would I possibly lead people toward happiness on my down days?

My friend explained that being happy all the time is not necessary to be a Happiness Project leader.   What is needed is someone who can effectively communicate with people in an honest, welcoming manner.  She felt that is what I could offer.  It was a flattering thing to hear.

The problem is I am not sure happiness should be a goal.  I mean, is it really possible to become a happier person if you set your mind to it?  And if I do want to be happy, can following someone else’s suggestions for a year-long quest bring it to me?

I do not think we are supposed to happy all the time.  It is not human nature.  Unhappiness can be a very motivating force.  Without times of sadness, disappointment and anger we would not fully understand what would make us happy.

What I do believe is that we can make our lives more meaningful.  Having a life that contributes to the world, is a positive way, may be the best way to be happier.  One of the common threads of my friends in midlife, is they want the second half of their life to make a contribution.  Feeling we are ”making a difference’, is very rewarding and does make one happy.

I thanked my friend for thinking I am someone who could lead others.  I am a happy person.  I whine and moan a bit too much, but overall I am happy.  But as for me leading others toward a life of happiness, maybe not.  I have too much mom stuff in me.  I tend to think I know what is best, when it comes to other people’s lives.

But what I will do is read the book.  It can’t hurt right?  I, like many people, am still searching for the next big thing.  Maybe being happier,  can be a goal like losing weight.  Or maybe, happiness is a side effect of appreciating what we already have.