The “World Happiness Report” Tells The World Nothing About Happiness

Happiness is an end.  It’s the culmination of a journey.  It’s the sum of many pursuits.  Outside forces do not pursue; actions are up to the individual.  Such forces may influence pursuits, but only if one lets them.   The “World Happiness Report” is an interesting compilation of data and conclusions published each year.  The authors compare countries throughout the world with the “central purpose. . .to measure and use subjective well-being to track and explain the quality of lives all over the globe.”  There are two flaws in the approach which demonstrate that the report really tells us nothing about happiness.

The first flaw is that the study really does not assess happiness at all.  Happiness comes from within.  Therefore, to study “subjective” happiness of individuals seems on point initially.  However, the authors acknowledge that they really measured “well-being” which is not synonymous with happiness.  Asking individuals subjective questions about well-being, trust of others and perceived security during a snapshot moment in time has almost no bearing on happiness.  While some current outside influences like COVID may crush “well-being” during a fleeting moment in time for some, the same events may very well become a boon for another.  One person’s inability to work is another’s opportunity to create new income streams.  Further, the next extrinsic influence may come along and change everything.  Happiness is not a snapshot in time, nor is it determined by extrinsic events, big or small.  Happiness is a culmination of one’s actions throughout all of life’s experiences—the journey begins within.

The second flaw is a presumption that a country’s relative happiness may be presumed from subjective responses to a few categorical questions.  It cannot be.  There are infinite pursuits that individuals choose and infinite reasons such choices are made.  Those pursuits come from foundational life choices and not temporal reactions to external influences.  Only foundational and internal life influences create happiness over time.  Happiness is a sum of innumerable actions.  Perhaps freedom, safety, peace, wealth and other qualities of a country may be assessed by such questions.  However, happiness encompasses all of these concepts and can never be quantified collectively no matter how it is studied or the manner in which surveys are performed.  Happiness will always be the elusive end that it is—and thank God for that—because it keeps the unhappy from learning how to take it away!  

If happiness could be determined through “subjective well-being” and “quality of life” in response to extrinsic factors like COVID, then responses in countries should be relatively homogeneous, but that is just not true.  Two people from any given country, in the macro, have the same extrinsic influences—a level of freedom, ability to earn, travel, obtain food & other things, and so on.  They also have infinite thoughts and innumerable reactions to events. The fact is, there will always be many “happy” people and many miserable people, even within the same city, on the same block, or in the same family.  Grouping them together masks the real foundation of happiness—individual choice.  Making choices based in goodness is the path to happiness over time.

The truth is that happiness cannot really be measured, but the ability to pursue it can.  Pursuit is action and it requires a choice.  There is only one place in the world that was founded upon, and has vowed to protect, the pursuit.  America.  Any time America falls below #1 on a “happiness” list, the study is not about happiness, but other things like “subjective well-being” or “quality of life.”  These concepts are not happiness, they are just others’ opinions.  Happiness is an end state that Aristotle essentially described as a culmination of life’s choices advancing goodness.  Happiness = (action + virtue) x time. This is the equation of the pursuit.  Keep pursuing, keep adding to your end sum, and when you’re done, you will have been happy.  

KPF

The Great Escape—From Thought & Goodness

Happiness always results from goodness.  Doing good comes from thinking good things and doing them.  It’s a simple equation really and it applies to all aspects of life.  It is all that “pursuit of happiness” really means.  The supposed protectors against a loss of the pursuit have failed all.  We need some Steve McQueens right now in more ways than one.

Where have all the lawyers gone?

Lawyers take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and their state constitutions as well.  They swear to protect people’s rights.  They have failed.  Forced mask wearing, forced closure of businesses, and denial of medical treatment are horrible infringements on liberty.  Denial of rights to practice religion or to assemble in public places infringe on the hallmarks of the Constitution and the cornerstones of our country.  Are lawyers protecting those rights?  No, they have disappeared.  Understand that judges are lawyers.  People are being fined and jailed for not wearing masks, opening businesses or going to church.  Now “vaccines” may be forced on people if they want to work, travel or attend functions.  Would any trial lawyer worth a damn admit a stack of exhibits into evidence without knowing what it is in them?  Then why would any lawyer support injecting stuff into people by force without knowing what’s in it or what the future consequences will be?  The oaths taken presuppose that lawyers will act to preclude such destruction of individual rights.  Lawyers need to find themselves; they are not thinking and are not doing good.

Where have all the doctors gone?  

Everyone has heard of the Hippocratic Oath—you know—“First do no harm!”  Actively or passively refusing to prescribe proven therapeutics to ill patients is doing harm.  There are medications that work to cure COVID.  Do most folks even know this information?  No, but media fools don’t take the oath, doctors do.  There is a DUTY to tell patients about medications that treat disease.  There is also an obligation for doctors to LEARN about treatment and in turn inform patients.  That process is not happening.  Instead, the standard is to send patients home without treatment to deteriorate.  Sounds like harm.

But wait, help is on the way—“vaccines” are here to save the doctors and the patients.  Are they FDA approved?  No.  Have they been properly researched to show they “do no harm?”  No.  Do the CDC’s own figures (on its website for all to see) show tens of thousands of terrible reactions and approximately two thousand deaths from the injections?  Yes.  Are doctors still telling patients to get these shots?  Yes.  The actions and inactions are doing harm.  Allowing money, propaganda and lack of fortitude to drive life and death decisions is harming millions of people every day.  Doctors need to find themselves; they are not thinking and they are not doing good.

Where have all the critical thinkers gone?

Lawyers and doctors have much to answer for.  But their failures do not exonerate the masses.  When life comes right down to it, we are responsible for self.  This country has acknowledged the God-given right to pursue happiness.  That acknowledgement however, presupposes responsibility—for self.  Failure to learn is opting out of responsibility, and in turn, opting out of liberty and life.  Any individual who would inject himself or herself with an untested concoction or fail to learn about curative therapeutics and how to get them for pennies is a failure.  A failure by choice.  People need to find themselves; they are not thinking and they are not doing good—for themselves.

KPF

Food For Thought In Five Courses; Happy Meal Number 4

1. “Beautiful Life”—Lost Frequencies, Sandro Cavazza—This song is the table setting, not a first course, but rather a vision, a canvas for a great meal.  All goodness, and thus happiness, begins with a canvas you create with your vision.

2.  “River of Deceit”—Mad Season—appetizer— “My pain is self chosen” begins this song.  All things negative start in the same place—self.  Begin the meal of life with gratitude and strength comes instead of pain.  Appetize your life.

3.  “Fishin’ In the Dark”—Nitty Gritty Dirt Band—Salad course—Salads cleanse the pallet and promote digestive health.  This song appreciates the simple, meaningful stuff of life = love, togetherness, rather than the what or how much.

4. “I am, I said”—Neil Diamond—This is today’s main course served FAMILY STYLE.   I believe that only you can make yourself who you are, but there  comes with your creation an immense need to share yourself with a romantic love and family.  Otherwise you’re just talking to the chair.

5. “One Night In Bangkok”—Murray head—Dessert—This one is out there and speaks for itself.  Don’t over indulge as you consume life.  Goodness is a prerequisite of happiness.

—KPF

Happy Meal #3: Food For Thought With Music

For many people like me, music and a good meal among favorite people are sources of happiness.  Put them together for a special recipe of happiness.  Enjoy the third installment of a five course happy meal, with music.

Appetizer:  “Feel Alright” by Steve Earle.  Good Americana style song about a guy who has been good and bad, but chooses to “feel alright.”  Good music and interesting lyrics.  An appetizer to get things off to a good start.

Pasta Course:  “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills & Nash.  Sometimes you figure out that what you’ve left behind was much better than you had thought.  You can keep searching for something better like an “acre of diamonds” and suddenly you realize that the gems are what you’ve had all along.  It’s the pasta course because it seems so good, it seems like never enough, and leaves you wanting something even more.

Salad:  “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve.  I love this song but the message is analogous to salad.  Often bitter, the part that most people really don’t want, but you know it’s good for you.  The song speaks to the difficulties of life and overcoming them so you can get to a place you really long to be.  At the table, it’s the entree, in life it’s simple happy pursuits.

Entree:  “Feelin’ Good Again” by Robert Earl Keen.  This is another great America story.  The lyrics tell the tale of a guy whose happiness is truly connected to life’s moments.  He enters the bar and sees the folks he wants to be around, finds seventy bucks in his pocket to share a round of cocktails, then his wish is granted when he sees the face of his greatest love.  He’s feelin’ good in the moment.  Many such moments added together make a happy life. 

Dessert: “Sinnerman” by Hot Since ’82/Ed Graves.  Maybe it’s too obvious, but over-indulgence is associated with dessert so I took the bait here.  Happiness often is sought by choosing perceived “happiness substitutes” like sugar, alcohol, drugs, lavish vacations and certain rushes or vices.  Like dessert, they are pleasures that last only for the moment.  Happiness comes from the total of all things sweet in life and not a quick fix or sugar high.

KPF

Revisiting A Sound Body

Below is a re-post of “Sound Body, Sound Mind & Happy Soul” in support of my personal fitness story I call “Men Don’t Wear Bras”

The link to my new handbook can be found here:  

https://gum.co/BxqZLO

“A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world”~John Locke

Mind, body and spirit are often considered together and associated with the road to happiness.  John Locke’s quote evidences the contemplated relationship between the physical, mental and spiritual contributors to our being.  He also understood how pursuit of happiness is inextricably intertwined with personal liberty.  Happiness is a big deal in the larger context of life.  However, all too often, happiness and its pursuit are only considered in the context of one’s mood or disposition.  Such a narrow vision of happiness is self-limiting and unlikely to lead one in pursuit of happiness at all.  There is more to the journey and the starting point may be far from where most think it begins.

To pursue happiness, one must first become sound of body; then, the mind and spirit will follow.  Seem like a strange approach?  Perhaps, but a different approach often seems strange.  The fact that the idea seems strange or different is the reason why so many fall short of the happiness mark.  We’ve become more and more accustomed to achievement through “education” or “intelligence” or “finding ourselves” rather than taking action to improve ourselves.  Taking action to exercise is as simple as going for a walk, picking a healthy food as opposed to sugar, or spending thirty minutes lifting weights instead of thirty minutes on Facebook.  Sometimes the easiest path is the path not taken, perhaps because it just seems too easy.  It is.

There are several reasons why the body comes first and should come first.  First, we are visual people.  We evaluate everyone we see “at first sight” including ourselves.  Look in the mirror—does that image make you think, “I am happy?”  If yes, great because you are ready to move on.  If not, then you already have all the information and incentive you need to act.  Get a plan and improve yourself to the perfect body you were gifted at birth.  Second, think of the ol’ saying “if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.”  Your health or lack thereof is your body.  If you want to have something that lasts then you must work yourself away from the nothing that ill health brings.  Getting your body right starts you on the path to getting the rest right as well.  Third, you have a moral obligation to yourself and to those you love to be your best.  Being your best makes them want to be their best right back.  Getting yourself on track, helping those you care about to get on track by advancing your life and pursuit of happiness all at the same time.

A sound body is key to a sound mind.  The mind is too often occupied by worry of ill health or self-deprecating thoughts related to weight or other issues.  Poor physical health and appearance have created innumerable cliques, divided people socially and caused endless mental suffering for those who have been ridiculed or even ostracized.  The number of such casualties is countless yet their suffering fades away into the fog of time without intervention.  The knee-jerk response to those of unsound body, whether ourself or another, is to reassure with “you look fine” or “you’re not over weight” and so on.  The current mindset that it is okay to be obese has complicated the issue further by accepting failure as the new normal.  Assuring others that it is okay to be of unsound body ensures that they will be of unsound mind and spirit as well.  That is right where the unhappy want you—within their ranks.  

Pursing the happiness created by pursuing a sound body through action right NOW changes your life.  Lying to others, or worse, to yourself by accepting anything less than a fit body is choosing to be unhappy.  Make a change.  Exercise your pursuit of happiness and get fit.  The others will follow as Locke recognized.

Gratitude Accelerates Success

Be grateful every day.  Say so every day.  But remember that saying so does not mean that you are satisfied where you are.  Gratitude is not satisfaction.  Gratitude is a springboard to abundance and a tool to be used every day to advance in life.

Too often, as we pursue our passions, there are parachutes that slow or stifle our acceleration.  Picture the dragster explode off the line with so much energy only to have a chute stop its advancement at a quarter mile.  Others express their opinions that “you should be happy where you are” or “that’s too risky” or “that isn’t a job; it’s a hobby.”  Remove these chutes and continue with all due speed.  Do not let even the impression that you are grateful and happy invoke thoughts of staying put or remain idle.

Expressing your gratitude for what you have each morning and again each night is the throttle not the brake.  It acts as a thank you to a higher power and your higher self for your accomplishments.  Gratitude should never be confused with satisfaction or contentment.  Being grateful is the green light to start the next race.  More wins in racing bring more sponsors, more money prizes and more fans.  More wins in business bring more clients, more income and a reputation for good work.  More wins in relationships bring more love, more respect and more mutual advancement.

Be grateful to accelerate every aspect of your life.  Fold up the parachute and put it away.  You will be the dragster that just keeps on going.

KPF

The Mirage is Actually Concrete

Recall riding in the car on sunny day.  As you stare out into the distance a hazy shadow of the trees along the roadside appears on the pavement ahead.  Just seconds before it is swallowed up, the shadow leaps forward to avoid capture.  The whole process keeps repeating as long as you remain focused on the road ahead.  The mirage is an elusive fellow.

In reality, the mirage isn’t really elusive at all.  The mirage is a vision and vision leads to action and accomplishment.  The mirage is happiness and happiness only comes from the constant forward pursuit.  The location of the vision is reached every time, but life and the road we travel doesn’t end just because we reach a single, concrete goal.  If we stop when we reach a single vision, life stops and stagnates while the rest of the cars pass us by.

Each mirage is a concrete segment along the road of life.  As each is reached we get a bit closer to the destination.  Each pursuit is a small act seeking happiness.  As we add up the infinite pursuits, we get closer and closer to the seemingly elusive mirage called happiness.  Happiness becomes concrete only when we turn our vision into actions keep the journey moving forward.

KPF

Happy Acts in Mysterious Ways

Several months into a pandemic and things keep getting better.  You are not going to hear that virtually anywhere else.  Why?  The unhappy deathly fear happiness.

If you would like a true update on COVID 19, look no further.  Happiness is not pleasure and it is not short term joy.  Happiness is an end and only comes from many, many pursuits that all add up to the end point.  In short, you have to act, not just dream. COVID 19 fear or displeasure is merely a momentary snapshot in time for happy people; it is THE END for the unhappy and serves to hold them in a static state of perpetual negativity.  They love it and they will exploit it as long as unhappily possible.

Here’s where the happiness is now.

Time—the stay at home orders, the work at home time and lack of hectic mornings, long commutes and the trappings of being servants to the “grind” are gone for so many.  Now, we may work efficiently, be more relaxed and focus on the job at hand.  We have time for happy-pursuing hobbies, side hustle work and some quiet, peaceful reflection.  Control over time promotes happiness.  The unhappy dread individual control of their own destiny because it portends responsibility.  Only happy people are responsible for their own actions.

Family matters—More time at home means more time and focus on family.  Kids are home, mom & dad (hopefully and ideally) are at home and relationships cannot help but get closer.  The grind of travel sports, all-night homework and scattered meal times have morphed into everyone at the dinner table, family movie nights, altogether walks in the neighborhood and maybe even dusting off the bicycles.  There are countless stories out there right now of moms who have rediscovered their purpose.  That may be the best result of all from this so-called crisis.

Fitness—if you’re not getting healthier and more fit during this time gifted time, then you’re not trying to be happier.  There is nothing good about obesity and ill health no matter how many self esteem books you read.  Happiness of body brings happiness of mind.  The latter does not EVER come without the former though most people think the opposite.  There are mirrors, flights of stairs, elbows brushing against love handles and myriad other reminders of an unfit body.  COVID has provided the time but you must act and make the effort.

Unplugging from the unwanted—COVID has also provided the perfect opportunity to cut ties and disconnect from the toxic people who have done nothing to make our lives better.  The gossips at work, the envious friend, the over-bearing relative, or the over zealous client.  Ridding your life of negative, unhappy people makes pursuit of happiness more possible and leads to a happier life.

Folks often say God works in mysterious ways.  So He does and we may witnessing a profound irony.  What the unhappy thought would help their cause of spreading unhappiness will actually do the opposite as we continue to get better and better day by day.

KPF

A Little Pruning Goes a Long Way

If you enjoy summer flowers, you’ve probably had petunias growing in your yard or in hanging pots at some point in your life.  Grandmas always seem to especially like them perhaps because they tell us a lot about wisdom that is acquired over our lifetime.  You see, petunias are colorful, vibrant flowers that grow like crazy as long as they are given the right attention.  They will thrive in full sun and will also do very well in the shade.  In short, they are a lot like people.  People can find happiness in almost any conditions as well, but they have to give themselves the right attention.

The key to petunias is not just some water and some sunshine.  The key to a beautiful, overflowing basket that exudes life is pruning.  No special tools are needed, just a bit of attention.  Petunias’ flowers shrivel and become discolored after several days and must be plucked to make room for new and even more vibrant blooms.  As the wilting, tired flowers are removed, so the plant is given the lifeblood to advance forward in its purpose—to bring joy to those who look at them and care for them.

Such is life.  Take a few moments every week or so and prune the tired and wilted vestiges from your life.  Examine your life and make choices to cut yourself loose from bad memories of the past, people who do not support and advance you, a job that is a dead end, or fears that have kept you from pursuing happiness in your life.  Pruning away the negative in your life makes room for more good things to take their place.  Life is advancement.  We cannot advance when we cling to ideas that weigh us down.  It’s time for growth.

KPF

Happy Meal Part 2: Happiness Paired With Song

Course 1:  Gratitude—Acres of Diamonds is a wonderful story of appreciation and gratitude.  Show appreciation for where you are right now and gratitude for what you have in your life at this moment.  Daily thoughts of gratitude and acknowledgement for the gifts you have right NOW make your life better.  They also help you understand that you are pursuing happiness in the way that you intended to in your life; or in the alternative, what you must choose to do to get on track.  Enjoy “No Place” by Rufus Du Sol: https://soundcloud.com/rufusdusol/noplace

Course 2:  Wisdom & Faith—Life improves when we seek wisdom and have faith in what we’ve learned over time. Answers to big questions are found in faith when reason doesn’t seem to provide any solace.  People who have faithful beliefs in something bigger are nearly always happier people.  If crises and life’s issues cause more people to turn to faith and to seek wisdom beyond their conscious minds, only positive long term results are on the horizon.  Time spent in seeking wisdom and enhancing faith is time well spent.  Enjoy Ralph Stanley’s “Palms of Victory” and contemplate faith: https://soundcloud.com/ralph-stanley-official/palms-of-victory

Course 3:  Sound Body—You will never develop peace of mind until you have a sound body.  A sound body means BOTH free from disease and proper fitness.  There is no path to happiness without health.  When one’s mind is constantly occupied by illness there is little room for anything else.  The same applies to your fitness even though it is not so front and center at each moment.  Trousers that become too tight, huffing and puffing at the top of the stairs or sooner, seeing many chins in the mirror are all ways that we are more subtly reminded that our bodies are not sound,  Choose to become fit and healthy.  There is no equipment needed, no gym membership required and no additional time to find in the day.  Stop watching t.v., put down the phone, and get moving.  Walk, run, do push-ups, whatever it takes for whatever level you’re at—it’s time.  There are no excuses or alibis, only choices!  Contemplate over Alice in Chains’ “No Excuses”

Course 4:  Learning—Start learning something of value and be happier.  The education system, especially at the collegiate level and higher, is failing to teach anything valuable.  Find the wisdom yourself in the vast array of technology and resources now available.  There has never been a better time to learn because everything is at our fingertips.  Read anything form the classics to starting an on-line business, but for God’s sake, do not seek any kind of meaningless degree if you’re looking for happiness.  The happy don’t teach at universities; they pollute.  Cast aside schools and listen to Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in Wall, Part 2”