“Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
― Guillaume Apollinaire (1880–1918)
The “search for happiness” is not new. You can find peace and happiness. The guide Discovering Your Optimum Happiness Index (OHI) will take you on a journey toward self-discovery, but neither doubt nor reservation must accompany you on this journey. Only an open mind, objective and peaceful would get you to a happy destination. A peaceful mind is a happy mind, but how peaceful is the mind of the citizens of nations when fear is becoming a national preoccupation? Can people find peace or happiness by having wealth, material possessions, or going traveling to exotic lands?
The undeniable fact is that human beings cannot give nor bring about peace because peace is a “spiritual attribute” (John 14:27) as opposed to a “natural attribute.” Ancient and contemporary writers and researchers have penned great works that teach profound lessons, which help to elevate our understandings, thoughts, words, and deeds and aid in our relationships. They advise us how to live and be happy. Likewise, there are psychologists, sociologists, psychiatrists, and counselors who teach how to enhance relationships and live fruitful lives.
The great experience that we share is the lesson of empathy for those whom some might deem inferior. It imbues people with feelings of inclusiveness and happiness. We urge all to “search for happiness” in their lives, despite the circumstances under which we live, because, individual happiness aggregates to (1) family, (2) corporate, (3) community, (4) national, and (5) universal happiness.
Over the centuries, great classical Greek philosophers such as Aristotle, and writers such as Tolstoy and Proust have shared their thoughts thus:
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim, and end of human existence.”
― Aristotle (384 BCE–322 BCE)
“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”
― Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust (1871–1922)
Happiness will break forth like a magnificent sunset on an overcast day when all embrace happiness as a national agenda and a national preoccupation rather than as strictly a personal pursuit. The search for happiness will take you along paths that you might not have traveled, although these paths may hold the secret to your happiness. Some paths that you have traveled or that you are currently traveling may be the path(s) that have suffocated your happiness and have robbed you of your “joy.” Marjorie and I have traveled many paths that have led to “joy,” happiness, and even disappointments.
The guide (OHI) may signify the beginning of a “new” expedition along new paths of happiness and successful living for you. Some disappointments may appear to impede your path to happiness, but embrace the disappointments, for there might be significant and potential benefits and meanings that demand an alert mind to the workings of the incomprehensible universe.
In 1995, I worked for a United States company based in Ontario, Canada, that decided to repatriate part of its operations back to the United States. The announcement gave rise to uncertainty for employment security with the company. Rather than becoming anxious and fearful, I committed my thoughts to a better opportunity and a peaceful mind despite the tenuous situation.
While I was negotiating a possible transfer to the United States, I received an invitation to interview with a different corporation in the United States. I accepted the latter position because of the growth opportunity and their corporate head office location that was close to a border crossing between the United States and Ontario, Canada.
An initial tenure of twelve months became a corporate assignment of sixty months; a journey that was unsurpassed in its experience and the hospitality of the nation of the United States of America under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It is fascinating to share that the universe inexplicably resonates with our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Always think positive and wholesome thoughts about self, people, and situations, because thoughts lead similar to a pace car in the Indianapolis 500 (Indy 500) auto race.
In the summer of 1986, Marjorie and I shared thoughts about our dream home. It would be on a premium corner lot with specific features we imagined. One evening, a cousin said, “Let us drive out to a subdivision in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and look at new home sales.” When we arrived at the subdivision showroom, there among the framed photos of available homes was our dream home. Amazingly, the framed photo of the house on the wall matched exactly what we imagined and discussed. More astonishing was the fact that it was the last available property in the particular model home of our interest.
We do not claim that the apex of happiness is strictly a by-product of one’s imagination or that happiness is purely a material compulsion. We merely share how thoughts that live deep in the labyrinth of our mind can manifest in the ethos. The universe is a repository of collective thoughts. We must be mindful that as schools of fish, immersed in the body of water in the ocean, and like-saving air envelops the Earth for human survival. Likewise, a universe of thoughts exists in the ethos, with cords that intrinsically links all humanity. The whole of humanity benefits when we embrace happy and positive thoughts to elevate others in their “search for happiness.”
Thoughts manifest in actions over which we do not have ultimate control, but faith, belief, and hope are our capable guides. The crucial “human survival mechanism” resides in positive thinking and positive actions that imbue the mind. The benefits of our “search for happiness” are enormous when we consider that we are members of the human family, with a common heritage and inseparable by a common desire for peace, safety, health, hope, and happiness. The collective desire for a “wholesome” and happy life unifies the human family.
We have delineated a list of twenty-eight multifaceted benefits of happiness among four essential happiness perspectives: (1) marriage and family, (2) corporate, (3) community and nation, and (4) international community. You can find happiness when you allow these twenty-eight multifaceted benefits to inform your search.
SEVEN KEY HAPPINESS BENEFITS FROM A MARRIAGE AND FAMILY PERSPECTIVE:
- Happiness in marriage
- Longevity in marriage
- Greater family loyalty
- Happier life and home
- Fewer unstable relationships
- Happier and more creative children
- Higher Personal “Happiness Index” (PHI)
SEVEN KEY HAPPINESS BENEFITS FROM A CORPORATE PERSPECTIVE:
- Greater employer loyalty
- Greater employee loyalty
- Fewer absentee employees
- Fewer corporate challenges
- Greater productivity at meetings
- Higher efficiency and productivity
- Higher Corporate “Happiness Index” (CHI)
SEVEN KEY HAPPINESS BENEFITS FROM A COMMUNITY AND NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE:
- Greater volunteerism
- Lower incarceration rates
- Fewer neighborhood incidents
- Better relations with law enforcement
- Higher political and voting participation
- Happier neighborhoods and communities
- Higher National “Happiness Index” (NHI)
SEVEN KEY HAPPINESS BENEFITS FROM AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE:
- Better global governance
- More peaceful negotiations
- Fewer international conflicts
- Improved international relations
- Better management of the environment
- Fewer infringements on national sovereignty
- Higher International “Happiness Index” (IHI)
The above-mentioned twenty-eight multifaceted benefits, delineated as marriage and family, corporate, community and national, and international, rest on the foundation that people and nations can aspire to a higher “Happiness Index” (HI). We trust that they will inspire your “search for happiness” motivated by a desire to achieve a happy life that is sustainable.
How can the international community of nations find peace and happiness? Peace is foremost a spiritual imperative as opposed to a military imperative. If we miss this most important distinction, our desire for peace becomes a vain pursuit, marked by futility and frustration. More importantly, a drain on valuable human and financial resources, while human suffering continues — unhappily, unabated as peace remains a grand illusion that we pursue.
Where can we find the path to peace and happiness? Is there a defined path for humanity to follow? Marjorie and I have discovered five pathways that undergird all aspects of human lives. These are 1) Spiritual path, 2) Moral path, 3) Social pathway, 4) Intellectual path, and 5) Physical path. Together, they lead to real self-actualization, peace, and prosperity, and they help to sustain both “joy” and happiness. Look for our Blog: Five Critical Pathways to “Optimum Happiness” (OH).
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). OH is a “higher value proposition” for human survival as a viable species than our typical notion of happiness. These same paths await on your “journey of discovery.”