Over many centuries, the world has experienced exponential growth in world religions, human knowledge, science, and technology, and considerable financial and material wealth. Humanity has made significant progress in academia, science and technology, space exploration, and medical research, and in the treatment and eradication of some common diseases such as smallpox, measles, yellow fever, and polio (poliomyelitis).
The thoughtful observer could conclude that our world should blossom into a “new era” of high civilization with peace and prosperity, and hope and happiness. Instead, humanity has been ushered into a “global village,” observably unprepared to manage past challenges, present challenges, and looming challenges of the twenty-first century and the “new millennium.”
Reflecting on our repository of data, we began to examine words and their classical definitions; the meanings they transcend and their daily application to human lives. We evaluated many words, and ten began to take on different and more profound meanings than the way we understood them in the past. Interestingly, these ten words are familiar household words that we have used throughout our youth and adult lives in casual conversations, and we have discussed their meaning with others, not recognizing they are the keys to open the doors to infuse happiness into our lives.
We recognized that the following ten words in Table 1 that we refer to as “TEN KEY HAPPINESS INDICATORS” (TKHI), weaved “strands of interconnection” with all human activities as they relate to well-being (happiness), underpinned by our achievements, attributes, and customs. They form a pattern, a “solution matrix,” to the plight of humanity regarding our happiness and unhappiness. We do not argue that these are the only keywords that embody our “search of happiness” or our unhappiness plight, but they underpin the “Happiness Index” (HI) Planning Process Methodology (HIPPM), which we present in extensive detail in Chapter 5 of our seminal work “Discovering Your Optimum “Happiness Index” (OHI) Project.”¹
TEN KEY HAPPINESS INDICATORS (THKI)
|QUESTIONNAIRE TEMPLATE (QT) VERSUS QUESTIONNAIRE CATEGORY (QT)||ACHIEVEMENTS, ATTRIBUTES, AND CUSTOMS|
The exponent (¹00) indicates the maximum score of 100 points that an “Aspirant” can achieve for answering each of the ten questions depicted in each Questionnaire Template (QT). Each Questionnaire Category (QC) can be a positive influence and engender happiness, or a negative influence and cause unhappiness. Therefore, each category can act as a counterbalance to the other. For example, one can have an excellent education (a graduate degree) and a lucrative career and symbols of success and happiness, but be unhappy because of a lack of good health or the “spirit” of forgiveness.
The “Ten Key Happiness Indicators” (TKHI), underpinned by the three entities Achievement, Attribute, and Custom, characterize our daily existence. Together with QC, QT, and the compendium of questions, they comprise the “intelligence grid” that undergirds the HIPPM.
The potency of these ten words became evident as we embarked on a journey to find the path(s) that happiness travels when it takes flight, knowing that happiness may return on another path(s). What is happiness? Why is there so much unhappiness in the world? The impetus behind the “Discovering Your Optimum “Happiness Index” (OHI) Project” is our earnest desire to share some inquiries and insights into our “search for happiness” and the magnificent benefits (spiritual and material) that Marjorie and I have experienced on our “happiness journey.”
Marjorie and I have had the privilege of combined global travel on three continents such as Africa, Europe, and North America, approximately twelve countries, twenty-four states, and thirty-eight cities, towns and villages over several decades. Global travel afforded us a panoramic view and put us on the “front lines” to observe how people in these parts of the world experience happiness and unhappiness. The observation is the same, the need for love, peace, hope, and happiness.
We have witnessed unhappiness among the haves and have-nots. The human compulsion for material wants over deeper spiritual and psychological needs have led some to behave (intuitive, subconscious, or conscious) in a manner that is often counterproductive to the universal goals of happiness.
Behaviors such as dishonesty, unfairness, unkindness, or inequity gratify the head instead of the heart. These practices rob us of joy and cause unhappiness. Conversely, behaviors such as honesty, fairness, kindness and empathy gratify the heart. Many in the field of research and ordinary citizens are astutely aware that intangible human attributes such as love, care and hope have a greater influence on human health and happiness than tangible assets such as money and material possessions.
The twenty-first century (primarily the Western world) is a stark contrast between happiness and unhappiness, despite financial and material wealth in an era of wellness and lifestyle coaches, therapists, psychological and psychiatric counselors. Researchers in corporations, universities, and university hospitals provide scientific data to demonstrate a correlation between happiness and productivity, and lifestyle and wellness of individuals. We have cited excerpts from a variety of perspectives from some of their research further on in the body of this work.
Some of the ideas in this guide might be new to you, but we hope that you consider them as “new” discoveries to add to your toolbox of knowledge in your “search for happiness.” It takes you on a journey of discovery where you can find happiness in the midst of plenty (wealth), likewise in the midst of scarcity (poverty). It offers the reader a broad spectrum of inquiry into the influence of human attributes, achievements, and customs on one’s health, well-being, and happiness.
We have taken the same pathways that we share with you in this discourse on happiness, as we endeavor to give something back to our nation and humanity. In other words, we have “walked the talk.” We have a great capacity to imbue happiness in the lives of others when we accept the notion of our interdependent human relationship as innate to happiness and survival as a viable species.
Over past decades, up to the present, we continue to observe many events that are world changing (www.futuretimeline.net). Many will agree that poignant events and circumstances in life (the past and current), and even contemplated future events contribute to different levels of happiness and unhappiness. We trust that this guide will shine a bright light on your path to happiness.
¹Extracted from: “Discovering Your Optimum ‘Happiness Index’ (OHI)” —A Self-Directed Guide to Your “Happiness Index” (HI) (Including Questionnaire and Self-Improvement [SI] Templates). © 2016 Errol A. and Marjorie G. Gibbs. All rights reserved.