What inspired the writing of Discovering Your Optimum Happiness Index (OHI) was our earnest desire to share our inquiries and insights into our “search for happiness” and the great benefits (spiritual and material) that we have experienced on our “happiness journey.” Foremost, happiness is a birthright (Spiritual, Inherent, and Constitutional). We have discovered that although material things imbue happiness, it is temporary. Happiness has a deeper meaning than the acquisition of material things. A “materially driven life” may boosts one’s lifestyle, but it is not fundamentally intrinsic to happiness.
We have also discovered that happiness does not come naturally or that people can be happy by merely envisioning themselves as happy. Paradoxically, every human being is in “search for happiness” at some level. All human beings have a responsibility to make our greatest contribution to help each other in our respective “search for happiness” —to choose another path is to perpetuate a state of unhappiness that negatively influences humanity’s hope for survival as a viable species.
Happiness is not merely the feelings that we experience only among family and friends; we imbue happiness in a myriad of way in our relationships with people, communities, corporations, and nations. We understand, intuitively that there are many distinct types of relationships, each with a unique relationship bond such as these fifteen relationships —distinctly differentiated such as spiritual, marital, parental, sibling, romantic, platonic, business, associate, subordinate, casual, territorial, sovereign, international, constitutional, and judicial relationships.
Without such an understanding of relationships —differentiated, people may respond intuitively to each connection and bond in a similar manner. The nature of these interdependent relationships makes us happy or unhappy. Strong relationships enable us to grow and overcome challenges that we may face in the myriad of relationships that we experience daily. The way in which people respond in their relationships with others is responsible for much of the breakdown in communications and unhappiness in the world.
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, space exploration, medical research, and scientific interventions to foster happiness in our lives through the genius of “Artificial Intelligence” (AI). 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” (http://www.millennium-project.org/projects/challenges/). The individual, the family, the community, the nation, and the international community face daily challenges such as injustice, stereotyping, gender bias, criminal incarceration, racism, unemployment, separation, divorce, aging, political apathy, economic collapse, terrorism, genocide, war, and fear of the future. The result is a world inundated with unhappy people, evidenced by human problems that result in terrorism, war, fear and anxiety, emotional stress, and the general conflict between individuals, communities, and nations.
In the year 2000, we began to explore the question, “What is happiness?” We focused our attention on events that alter human life from perspectives of happiness and unhappiness. Life-changing situations such as engagement, marriage, graduation, or career contribute to social, economic, and material well-being and happiness. Likewise, events such as separation, marriage breakdown, financial failure, unemployment, or a significant illness can contribute to unhappiness. The attributes and the human ecological conditions that inspire true happiness are somewhat complicated and multilayered.
Furthermore, we have discovered that happiness is not merely personal, but interpersonal, transactional, and transformational. It presents “Optimum Happiness” (OH), underpinned by “Joy” in the spiritual realm, as a higher “value proposition” than the common notion of happiness in the material realm. We can discover the keys to unlock the “doors to happiness” both internal (spiritual) and external (physical) when we find purpose and meaning in life. The guide 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).
Our guide is not a scientific treatise about happiness. We do not make any claim of training in psychology, sociology, or any of the social science disciplines. We present our discourse as an alternative approach based on experiential knowledge; intuitive, intellectual, and empirical observation; multigenerational family life experiences; nurturing children, and life experiences in the business world. Some of the ideas in the guide might be new to “happiness seekers,” but we hope that readers will consider them as “new” discoveries to add to your toolbox of knowledge in your “search for 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 humanity. We have “walked the talk.” We have a high capacity to imbue happiness in the lives of others when we accept the notion of our interdependent human relationship as innate to happiness and human survival as a viable species. It is from this perspective that we share what inspired the writing of Discovering Your Optimum Happiness Index (OHI). We hope that it will inspire you to read the book in its entirety to enlighten your path of discovery of happiness.
To introduce “new” tools to aid in the “search for happiness” such as 2017 © Discovering Your Optimum Happiness Index (OHI), 2017 © Discovering Your Optimum Happiness Index (OHI) Quotes Handbook, and companion eBooks. Likewise, the goal is to design an OHI app to take advantage of digital connectivity and mobile lifestyles. Our book fills a gap in knowledge about happiness in the postmodern world. We derived our thesis by conducting talks and dialogues with people from different countries, of different races and cultures, religions, colors, and ages. Likewise, with people from diverse academic backgrounds and laypersons.
To bring to the “Table of Civilization” alternatives ways to think about happiness and the building blocks for happier people, and nations. We present a Happiness Index Planning Process Methodology (HIPPM), which is non-scientific, but it can complement research in behavioral science disciplines such as sociology or psychology. Our research led us to conclude that our “Happiness Index” (HI) has applications in science when modeled across large groups or populations for variance and standard deviation. We hope to broaden the discourse on happiness with a call to nations to institute a Ministry of Happiness (MOH) and Minister of Happiness (MOH) as a “value proposition” for the leadership of nations. (https://www.gibbshappinessindex.com).
To introduce our Self-Directed Guide to Your Happiness Index (HI). The tool is a predicate of the Ten Key Happiness Indicators (TKHI), underpinned by achievements, attributes, and customs such as (1) career, (2) character, (3) education, (4) forgiveness, (5) health, (6) humility, (7) personality, (8) religion, (9) self-esteem, and (10) socialization. Together the number of questions associated with each indicator comprises the “intelligence matrix” that undergirds the HIPPM. Scientific researchers have deployed mostly “top-down” models to measure the happiness index of nations. Our model is a “bottom-up” model that speaks to the HI of nations as the aggregate of the HI of its citizens.
To facilitate Self-Improvement Planning (SIP) to help the individual to improve his or her HI. Improvement in one’s HI is analogous to the aggregate improvement of one’s overall health, happiness, and well-being. More significantly, the benefits of SI can extend beyond self to marriage, family, and community. Likewise, the benefits of SI can reach within corporations, institutions, nations, and throughout the world. SI begins with a willful understanding of the aggregate benefits that are inherent when it becomes a total conscious state within the individual, family, and nation. It also means to “uplift” every aspect of our being, such as spiritual, moral, social, intellectual, and physical aspects. These five attributes will enable human beings to build a better human civilization with peace and security, and happiness for individuals, families, nations, and the international community.
To establish a basis to pilot additional HI models to help a broad range of communities such as religious, academic, corporate, political, justice, and military groups, to better understand the complicated and comprehensive nature of the impediments to happiness; moreover, as a “human value proposition.” Furthermore, we formulated our HI model without any differentiation in weight or value among the TKHI. Regardless of the complex nature of any one of the ten indicators, it will be a challenge to any branch of inquiry (scientific or non-scientific) to attempt to weigh one entity against another or to measure the influence of the happiness or unhappiness on different individuals.
Happiness is a composite of the “optimum” of the best of human achievements, attributes, and customs. We have witnessed many people who have tried to differentiate what would make them happy: a new car, a new home, engagement, marriage, or winning the lottery. The desire to achieve and sustain happiness is not exclusive to the physical realm. Intangible human attributes such as mutual love, social relations, and loyalty to family and friends are primary factors in the “happiness equation.”
We have witnessed unhappiness among the haves and have-nots. The human compulsion for material wants over more profound spiritual and psychological needs has led some to behave (intuitively, subconsciously, or consciously) in a manner that is often counterproductive to the universal goals of happiness. For instance, behaviors such as dishonesty, unfairness, unkindness, and 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. More importantly, the benefits of happiness are numerous such as these:
FIFTEEN BENEFITS AND TRAITS THAT IMBUE HAPPINESS:
- Happiness exists in the “spiritual” and the “physical” realms of our lives.
- The “pursuit of pleasure” is not the same as “pursuit of happiness.”
- Happier people are more calm, creative, and productive.
- There are specific keys to a happier life.
- Happier people have a happier personality and vice versa.
- Material success is not the same as a successful life.
- Neither rich nor poor people are happier than each other are.
- People who travel are happier, with a balanced worldview.
- Happy leaders are better managers of people and situations.
- Unhappiness does not have to be permanent.
- Optimum Happiness (OH) is achievable and sustainable.
- Much of human behavior is counterproductive to happiness.
- A happy nation is the aggregate of its happy people.
- Contentment and good character traits imbue happiness.
- Happiness can help to mitigate much of the violence in the world.
Many in the field of research and ordinary citizens are astutely aware that intangible human attributes such as love, care, and hope have a more significant influence on people’s health and happiness than tangible assets such as money and material possessions. More importantly, the attributes of happiness have the highest potency to transform peoples and nations and foster human survival as a viable species with enumerable benefits spiritual, moral, social, intellectual, and physical (Gibbs and Grey, 2011).
Writers, Errol A. and Marjorie G. Gibbs are avid readers, inspired researchers, speakers, and mentors. Their journey, which began with their “search for happiness,” led along paths to “Optimum Happiness” (OH), which is a “higher value proposition” for human survival as a viable species than happiness. These same paths await you on your “journey of discovery” —Discovering Your Optimum ‘Happiness Index’ (OHI).