I’m thinking about turning everything “off” until October 31st, 2020.
I’ll have to vote on November 3rd, but I’ll only need a couple of days to get briefed on my options. Between now and then, people who will be in history’s dustbin one year from today will be screaming into microphones at state fairs and union conventions with a common agenda: they’re hoping to make us miserable, while presenting themselves as the only living person who can turn the tide and return us to our Happy Place.
Don’t look for answers from presidential candidates; ask Bing: “How to be happy.” Block some time: you’ll get 187 million results. Try Google: they only offer 7.2 million options. It appears that Happy Hunters can get more advice from Microsoft than Alphabet (the parent companies for the search competitors). It’s confirmed: lots of us looking for some relief from the raving…
Alex Palmer is the author of Happiness Hacks, his new book digesting a lot of those ideas. Here’s his synopsis:
“Over a period of more than two years, I studied hundreds of academic studies, interviewed psychologists, sociologists and happiness researchers about what brings a person joy. Happiness is far from a simple concept. It can refer to a wide range of moods, emotions, sensations and traits – each with its respective benefits and drawbacks….
“Here are some of the most interesting tips I discovered in my research: 1) Stop apologizing. 2) Rent; don’t buy. 3) Don’t retire early. 4) Embrace getting older. 5) Don’t be a lawyer.” Really?
This isn’t a new issue. There’s a man in Bible history whose name put him a constant paradox. When your mom calls you a “pain,” how do you hunt for happiness?
“Jabez was a better man than his brothers, a man of honor. His mother had named him Jabez (Oh, the pain!), saying, “A painful birth! I bore him in great pain!” Jabez prayed to the God of Israel: “Bless me, O bless me! Give me land, large tracts of land. And provide your personal protection – don’t let evil hurt me.” God gave him what he asked.” (1 Chronicles 4:8-10, from The Message)
If we’re looking for good answers, campaign rallies and internet searches are of limited value. Here’s a great option: ask a man who, like Jabez, sought God’s favor, and received it. Solomon the Wise offers these timeless downloads on the subject in his book called Ecclesiastes:
“A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (2:24-25)
“I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil – this is the gift of God.” (3:12-13)
“This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them – for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil – this is a gift of God.” (5:18-19)
“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.” (8:15)
“Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.” (9:7-8)
Synopsis: enjoy your work (even though it’s sometimes tough). Linger over dinner, appreciating what’s on the table and the people who are around it. Enjoy your abundance; it’s from God (if your excess now causes more problems than solutions, you might be exceeding His limits). You’re in sync with God, through faith, so you’ve got His approval, already…
So, drop the despair and portray the kind of over-the-top satisfaction that will make your friends look to you for the answers, instead of the manipulative alternatives that are misdirecting our searching generation.
Care to join me in a well-founded Happy Dance?