Monday, June 16, 2014

"Happiness" can manifest in productive action

Had a recent discussion with students about happiness. I suggested they dimensionalize the construct, that it's sometimes possible to reverse-engineer our perceptions. Instead of a euphoric rush with giggles, I framed the notion of happiness as being thankful for a given opportunity, or possibly seeing the value when we serve others. We also discussed happiness as a chosen response, rather than taking a victimized role within a situation.

As most profs well know, it's many times difficult to know when our guided intellectual tours gain traction. In this case, it did. Please note the following Facebook post (used with permission):

To anyone who doubts the teachings of Happiness:

I didn't publicly complain about a particular scenario recently because I learned complaining really doesn't make the situation better and only makes you dwell on the problem. When I got on my separate flight back to MIA, 15 minutes before landing I realized I didn't have my laptop with me. You might think "how stupid" and, well, yeah, but I figured in the moment I was carrying so many things all on my own and didn't even realize it since my hands were full. In the exact moment I was about to panic, I thought of all the negatives that didn't happen: plane didn't crash; I didn't realize earlier (making the 9 hour flight unbearable); etc. and, also, positives: I was going to reunite with my family soon. And, perhaps most importantly: even though the pictures and memories in file would be lost, a single object that could be replaced with a newer version and filled with new memories wasn't worth being distressed over considering all the good in my life. Think about it -- it's really just an object. A thing. And, after all, as I've said to a few people on the trip -- the memory and experiences LIVED in life (particularly our trip) are more meaningful than a few pictures.

The reason I'm sharing this way-too-long post is because I just received an email from Heathrow that my laptop was found. And, the "problem" will get resolved and I never wasted a minute not being happy over it. For that, I am so thankful. Really, everyone, (especially those of you who took happiness) think about the simple things we learned and really make the effort to apply them to every single moment that you can and you won't look back at the time you've wasted being unhappy.

And with this outcome attained, I can march happily into the rest of summer. Sometimes the best teachers...are the students we engage.

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