I have found that the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.
Harry S. Truman
I am going to share an article with you today that I strongly agree with. It focuses in on what I have learned in my lifetime and that is that happiness does not come from the trappings of what folks call achievement, things that are recognized by awards, titles or accolades from others. Happiness comes from what we really do over time; it is the day to day activities that provide life’s true rewards. Today in my case it is the daily exercise routines, the friends I meet and lunch with, the time I spend helping organizations achieve their goals, and much more. That is not to say that I have not had more than my fair share of promotions, awards and recognition in my lifetime, I have, but they have come from just being myself doing what made me happy and not from the pain that comes from sacrifice and reaching for unwanted goals.
I am especially concerned about the young people today who are forced into making lifetime commitments when they feel they must chose a lucrative career path even before they have learned about themselves. They are told they must pick a profession that will provide them income and material success and to disregard their other interests. Once they take their first step on to that road they soon find that they are stuck for life in a role that often does not allow them to become the happy person they might have been.
Putting the Happiness Back in “Young and Happy”
Young people are becoming socially isolated, even alienated
Post published by Ran Zilca on Apr 17, 2015 in Confessions of a Techie
When we meet people who seem to be both successful and happy, we tend to think that they are happy because they are successful. Many of us were brought up to think that if we worked hard and succeeded, happiness will naturally follow. In the past few years, researchers have re-examined the relationship between success and happiness, and found that this seemingly-obvious assumption of success leading to happiness is inaccurate. First, happiness is a by-product of the pursuit of success, rather than successful accomplishments. Individuals who are actively engaged in the pursuit of goals that are meaningful to them, experience a range of positive emotions and become happier. Simply put, one does not have to succeed to be happy – the more important thing is to try. In addition, the relationship between success and happiness also goes the other way around: While success could lead to greater happiness, happiness also leads to success. People who experience more positive affect over time are more likely to earn more money, perform better at work, and are better team players.
The net of it is that rather than focusing on performance and accomplishments as our ultimate goals, we would be better off: Focusing on our happiness as the ultimate goal, and: Choosing goals that are meaningful to us, even if we sometimes fail to accomplish them.
Yet instead, our society often goes in the opposite direction of being fixated on achievement. The fundamental mistake of placing success before happiness now starts at a very young age. While in school, the most important thing is to get into the right college. Many children find themselves focused on their performance: at school, in sports, in playing musical instruments, etc. By the time they graduate from high school, many young people would have sacrificed much of their teenage years. They find themselves getting into the right college, obtaining a scholarship, then graduating, landing a great first job, only to discover that the rat race continues, and now they need to push further to be promoted. Many move far from home instead of getting a job in a place where they can easily find friends, socialize, belong, and contribute. In the meantime, they may realize that they are lonely. They face a new life transition that was not there before – a new step between entering adulthood and starting a family.
Young people are becoming socially isolated, even alienated. Ironically, the saddest young adults are sometimes those who achieved all they set out to. No fun in high school and college, no friends, no girlfriend/boyfriend and a deep astonishment that they are not happy – even though they accomplished everything they had set out to do.
Research has already uncovered the paths to happiness and the risk of over-focusing on performance. To put the Happiness back in Young and Happy, young people should not only focus on performance and success, but on the range of needs and aspirations that they have: to have friends, to find a soul mate, to think, read, perhaps do a few reckless and rebellious things. It could be a tough call though. Given the opportunity to be in the gifted class, get a better-paying job, get into an Ivy League school, would you be able to say no? Will you advise your children to say no?
Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.
When temperatures plunged to 26 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, the Rockford, Ill., Register Star asked its readers to finish the sentence, “It was so cold that…” Here are some of the responses:
…you could freeze an egg on the sidewalk.
…I had to go up and break the smoke off my chimney.
…we opened the refrigerator to heat the house.
…when police saw a bank-robbery suspect and said, “Freeze!” he did.
…I saw a 32nd-degree Mason, and he was down to 15.
…when I called home to Arizona, the message caused the cactus to frost over.
…I let my dog out, and I had to break him loose from the tree.
I have a mind like a steel… you know… doohicky.
Donald Ogden Stewart, the writer, had a son away at prep school. When the boy reached the age of fourteen, Stewart wrote him the following letter:
“Dear son, now that you have reached the magic age of fourteen, the time has come to tell you about the bees and flowers. There is a male and a female bee, although I haven’t the slightest idea which is which. As for the flowers – we get ours from the Plaza Florist, Inc.
Well, that takes care of that.
Write soon, Affectionately,
I made a mental note, but forgot where I put it.
Moshe was taking to his psychiatrist. “I had a weird dream recently,” he says. “I saw my mother but then I noticed she had your face. I found this so worrying that I immediately awoke and couldn’t get back to sleep. I just stayed there thinking about it until 7am. I got up, made myself a slice of toast and some coffee and came straight here. Can you please help me explain the meaning of my dream?”
The psychiatrist kept silent for some time, then said, “One slice of toast and coffee? Do you call that a breakfast?”
“True happiness is to enjoy the present… without anxious dependence upon the future.”
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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