Happiness – an Inside or Outside Job

Happiness – an Inside or Outside Job

This was a great column in the New York Times by David Brooks on Monday and it totally reminded me of what I've been reading in Marci Shimoff's book, Happy for No ReasonHappy for No Reason.

The gist of the column was that Sandra Bullock won an Oscar and found out about her husband's infidelity at almost the same time and that the Oscar success she enjoyed could not begin to make up for the wrenching blow she received to her marriage. Further, that happiness is determined far more by personal relationships than by career success and money.

Finally, it ends with two book recommendations on the investment that our governments ought to be making in our happiness and well-being.



This column opens up all sorts of ideas for me, the one I'll deal with here is that both of these sources of happiness (career and relationship) are external circumstances. They have nothing to do with the deeper happiness and peace that Shimoff is advocating, and hopefully helping me develop, in her book. Her argument, and I think it is a good one, is that as long as our happiness is dependent on anything external we will end up at the whim of circumstances. The goal is to rise above change and connect to our own inner Source.

For instance, last night I didn't feel well and I was cranky with the kids. So I put myself to bed early – I was definitely in existential angst mode. But I took Happy for No ReasonHappy for No Reason to bed with me and asked myself, "Am I still happy?" Happily, my answer was, "Yes." And I realized (AGAIN!) that true happiness does not mean that you never get upset, that you are an annoyingly positive person all the time with a perma-smile. Rather, it means that you feel all the pain and pleasure of the world and none of it affects the deep inner core that is YOU. Super-cool. Loving this book.

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