The art of being happy requires extracting happiness from common things.
Hello Happiness Fan,
So I wrote out this 800-word email on how thinking traps can hold back happiness … and then deleted it. I know, right? Boooooorrrrring.
I can sum it up in one line anyway: don't be so close-minded about happiness; be open to anything. For example, I submitted my new book (release date January 19th, 2021), Happiness Power, to reviewers last month, anxiously wondering how book reviewers would rate it. I imagined that many of the reviewers wouldn't understand it, and the reviews would be tepid at best. The first two reviews came by email on Monday, and I must say I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised.
From Goodreads.com "I am giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. This is possibly the most conducive compilation of the best book excerpts, scientific studies, quotes, philosophies, and guides, all expounded by the author's viewpoint, which helped make the topics more comprehensible. This is a MUST-HAVE, and I highly recommend this to ALL readers. — Shey Saints – GoodReads.com
Then I received the following review from California Bookwatch just a few hours later. "Its panacea for stagnation was never more needed than now, making Happiness Power an essential recommendation for all ages and all kinds of self-help and sociology collections. – Diane Donovan, Editor, California Bookwatch
So I must take my own advice to be more open-minded to happiness. You can imagine how relieved I was after reading the reviews. I am expecting a few more, and despite myself, I am keeping my fingers crossed that they all read as well as Monday's reviews.
A Twisted Brother
I received an early birthday present from my brother yesterday. It is a seat cushion lazy-susan style, that goes on the car seat. It completely spins around on ball bearings. Why I don't know. I tried it out this afternoon but I had to make a sudden stop for a deer darting across the road. The momentum swung me around in the seat so rapidly, before I knew it I was facing the rear seats. It was a confusing sight for the car behind me. I just waved and grinned at them and spun back around to face front again.
I think I will be the talk of his diner table as he describes how an old codger in a car in front of him made a sudden stop with no advanced warning and spun around like a comic book character just to grin and wave at him. It is like a wonderful carnival ride with surprise twists and turns. It is most exciting especially when I make a left turn as I have to really hold on to the steering wheel so I don't wind up facing the driver-side door. Ah, the adventures of the golden years and such a twisted brother.
I admit it – I'm am a died in the wool introvert, never great at socializing. So it was a bit of an effort to set up social media for my author's accounts. I have a Twitter and Instagram account, but I don't use them very frequently. I use Linkedin a bit more. I have been wary about Facebook, though I have an account established there.
Then two months ago, I forgot my password and asked Facebook to help. They wanted identification, so I send both images of my driver's license and passport. They claimed they couldn't confirm it was me. I am still locked out many attempts later, and even a snail-mail letter to their California HQ went unresponded. There is no way to contact them that doesn't have an AI response. That is frustrating. I discovered others are also reporting similar customer inattention, as well.
I don't really miss it as I never really used it very often. But social media is important for authors, so I suppose I must learn to live with that handicap.
Everything happens for a reason. Some may seem horrible, painful, and unfair at first, but in reflection, you find that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower, or heart. Nothing happens by chance or by means of luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness, and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul. Without these small tests, whatever they may be, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere. It would be safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.
One of my favorite TED speakers is a reclusive physicist, David Deutsch. I just love how his mind works. He changed my view on what optimism is. We think of optimism as this sort of hopeful feeling. He said that's not how to think of it. Optimism is the stance that problems are there to be solved, that problems are actually solvable and that if you want an operating manual for life, you carve two tablets: One of them says problems are inevitable, and the other says problems are solvable. It's kind of a great way to stay calm and keep moving.
I crawled under my desk to retrieve my favorite pen a few days ago and smacked my head on the open desk drawer when trying to get up. There are two things an old guy shouldn't try anymore, bend over past his knees or crawl on all fours as it is virtually impossible to recover from those unflattering positions without asking for help. Being all alone, any one of those potentially locked positions could have stranded me. Yet a foolish golden-ager like me should only try those youthful maneuvers in private to avoid embarrassment –to that of other viewers. I could easily do it in my twenties. But my birthday is next week, and I'll be seventy-nine and should know better at my age. My bad as they say.
I made it back to the chair on my own (I still had it in me), closed the desk drawer, and rubbed the bump on my head. It didn't help, and I had to be satisfied with a headache for the rest of the morning. I thought how soft I got. But no more complaining. I wish I hadn't spent all those many hours trying to learn to sound smart and instead boarded one of those old fashioned freighters as a deckhand and experienced life in a more rough and tumble way, visiting distant ports. Where being hit over the head with a whiskey bottle in a dive bar was more of a badge of honor. In comparison, all I received was a bump from a desk drawer which we all know is nothing to brag about. The only thing to be grateful for was no one was watching.
But that crack on my head reminded me that I should stay in the chair and maybe attempt to train the dog to pick up what I drop next time. Not that she would. It is just another of my wild schemes. Now I shouldn't complain as I have had a relatively good life even while sequestered in this quarantine. At least I can write to pass away the time.
But now it's time to put thoughts of old transgressions aside and be happy for hot chocolate and a clean pair of socks and conversation with my lovely wife and try to put this new day to some sort of positive use.
Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness; you will get your own happiness. And this is the purpose of human life…the pursuit of happiness.”Wishing you all a wonderful and happy week. Well until next Friday then . . .
Yours in happiness,
18 Bank Street Suite 1, Summit NJ 07901 United States
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