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Achieving consistent happiness

Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so.
John Stuart Mill

I don't tend to be anxious, stressed, depressed, bored, or angry the great majority of the time. So by default, I must be a happy person. Quite honestly, I don't spend much time analyzing my happiness level - I tend to focus more on how productive I've been. 

For those who are looking for ways to become happier, I'd endorse the recommendations of Joel Gascoigne who wrote "6 things I do to be conistently happy." He recommends:

  1. Wake up early.
  2. Exercise daily.
  3. Have a habit of disengagement.
  4. Regularly help others.
  5. Learn new skills.
  6. Have multiple ways to "win" each day.

Read the whole post. It's worth your time.

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Like Joel, I believe my happiness is a direct result of doing most of the things his lists on a daily basis. I'd also add the following daily habits:

  1. Have an interesting book to read and find some time each day to read it.
  2. Have something to anticipate - a trip, an event, etc.
  3. Spend discretionary money on experiences rather than material goods.
  4. Take a lot of photographs, especially of your kids and grandkids, and look at them.
  5. Indulge in a guilty pleasure without feeling guilty.
  6. Maintain a regular schedule.
  7. Always have a project or two that challenge you.
  8. Be less critical of both yourself and other people (I think the two are related in some way.)
  9. When given a new task at work, look at it as job security and a chance to learn rather than a burden.
  10. Enjoy your own company when alone. Turn off the iPod and car radio and think, fanaticize, plan, and dream.

Nothing very profound here. But it seems to work for me.

What do you do on a daily basis that makes you a happy person?

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Reader Comments (2)


Great post and perfect timing with the beginning of the school year fast approaching. I've always thought that one of the key components of happiness is having the power to choose -- choose to go to college, start a career, or serve our nation, choose what kind of career I'd like, where I prefer to live, etc.

For many years, I have been faithful to something I heard Ian Jukes say about education -- we prepare children for their future, not our past. My hope for our students is that we help them develop the skills that can give them the opportunity to make choices in life -- and in those choices, happiness.

Have a great start to the school year.

August 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Hillmann

HI Matt,

You have always struck me as a happy man. Thanks for adding to the discussion - you are credible!

Have a great start to your school year.


August 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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