The Happiness Paradox

A recurrent theme in America is that there is great division and we are bordering on “chaos” or destruction by civil war.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In reality, the only real division between people is the happy versus the unhappy.  The happy pursue their happiness by choice.  The unhappy choose not to pursue it themselves.  Instead, they seek to change circumstances, or the world, to make others happy.

Enter the paradox of happiness.  The unhappy tend to blame outside forces for their problems.  Today’s cause may be a tyrannical boss, yesterday’s may be dysfunctional parents and tomorrow’s may be the misfortune of growing older.  In blaming extraneous causes, the unhappy too often seek to take on the “cause” to prevent others from suffering similar misfortune.  Thomas Sowell said, “There has never been a shortage of people eager to draw up the blueprints for running other people’s lives.”  In other words, they try to secure happiness for others.  As if practicing a religion, the unhappy fight many “isms” or advocate causes for similarly-situated, unfortunate souls.  The causes are often angry, the help is usually unwanted and the results most often are failures.  They fail others because they’ve already failed themselves.

Happy people champion themselves.  Pursuers of happiness decide of their own volition to take action to be happy people.  They pay little heed to extraneous circumstances and accept responsibility for their own lives.  In so doing, these quiet, content, and happy people spread their rays of sunshine over others.  The circumstances seem obvious.  Most people prefer to interact with the happy and avoid the unhappy.  Happy people make the moment, the day and our lives better.  Those who try to force happiness on others, instead spread divisiveness and unhappiness among those around them.  Those who choose to ACT and pursue happiness in their own lives tend to spread to those around them and hopefully far wider.  Thus the paradox—the happy spread happiness through happy choices they’ve made for themselves.  The unhappy fail to spread happiness despite the perceived happy choices they’ve made for others.  Happiness begins with self and ends with others.  Unhappiness begins with self and infectiously remains with self until a choice is made to champion self.

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