Monday, August 11, 2014

The Key to Happiness

Our summer weather has been outstanding and I am doing OK.

There are millions of studies costing billions of dollars being done by people, reportedly experts, who research things that most times a person of ordinary intelligence can figure out just by living life.   Last week another one came out saying, "The formula for happiness is to have low expectations." They even took the time to show us a mathematical equation proving this.  I wanted to recreate it for this  post,  but it was difficult and they told me not to set my sights too high or I would be miserable.

I think that I am like so many people who are happier when we have great expectations, no matter how it may turn out.  Happiness and disappointments come and go, but the joy of possibilities is the greatest thrill of all. I wouldn't want to have missed out on any of them.

So said Christopher Columbus, Edmund Hillary, Leif Erickson, Marco Polo, Neil Armstrong and all those other not-famous people who followed their stars no matter how rough the course might have been.  To paraphrase a famous quote  - the journey teaches you more than the destination.

I will continue to find laughter in my disappointments because it is how I cope  and I will never give up my anticipation of joy, no matter what the PHD's say.
 




 

50 comments:

  1. At first, I thought, "Yes, that is right" when I read about the research. In a way it is - if you're aspiring to something that you have no reasonable possibility of getting, or ruining your life because you can't have something. But then I read your post and I realised I feel just the same as you, that hopes and plans are what give life its flavour and pleasure. Who wants to be stuck in a rut they've no chance of getting out of?

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    1. I am all about the flavor even if it gives me a stomach ache later. I know that I will probably recover the next day.

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  2. Absolutely! What's the point in working/hoping/wishing/striving for the little things....the things you most likely can obtain or accomplish? Always aim for the stars!! "Dream big or go home!" or "Live Life Large!" Great blog subject.

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    1. Sometimes it is just satisfying enough seeing the moon and stars; touching is the icing on the cake. There are times, though, that I am happy not indulging in the extra calories. I loved your comment, Linda.

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  3. I'm an unrepentant optimist as well. Like Linda says -' reach for the stars', even if you only get as far as the tree tops. Made me think about that old Frank Sinatra song - 'High Hopes' ( Gosh I'm old)

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    1. High Hopes, best song ever, Molly. It is my anthem, as I know it is yours.

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  4. Hi Arleen. One thing I have learned for certain since the financial crash of 2008: There ain't no such thing as an expert!
    I’m experimenting with a new idea of mentioning the music I’m listening to while posting or commenting. Right now it’s Aleniz's Cadiz from the Suite Espanola played by Guilermo Gonzalez.
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. Agree, there are just titled experts who agree or disagree depending on who is paying them.

      I always enjoy and look forward to your posts, Bazza, as I learn so much about the things that interest me.

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  5. Aim high and also ask God for direction. He has good plans for us. I don't think having low expectations leads to happiness, I agree with you.

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    1. Sometimes, we do not aim but get there anyway, Terra. We must and usually do make the best of it. It is what has kept the human spirit going for thousands and thousands of years.

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  6. Dreams, hopes, aspirations. All valuable. All necessary. As if finding the beauty in small things. Open hearts, eyes and mind will give us beauty and joy.
    Settling for second (or third) best? Not for me.

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  7. I am laughing my self silly over the happy graph maker with low expectations. What a jerk.

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  8. I think it makes you a truly better and stronger person!!

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    1. Just like you, Sandie. You are in my thoughts and I am hoping that you are doing well.

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  9. The adventure is always just beginning.

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  10. Your observation that "The joy of possibilities is the greatest thrill of all" is absolutely true and beautifully stated.

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  11. Personally my aspirations have never been that high. I've always wanted that standard good life with a family, a pleasant lifestyle, and cash in the bank. I've never wanted to be super-rich, and don't envy those who are. I would say that so far I've been very happy.

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    1. Those are aspirations that most of us have, Cro. Having love, food and shelter are the basics of life, but for many it is not a given and for others it is not enough.

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  12. Looking forward to the "joy of possibilities" helps keep us young. You have a great outlook, Arleen! It sure beats what the "experts" say!

    Julie

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  13. Well, good for you - buck the trend and put the academics where they belong. Apparently statistics are infinitely malleable, and it is possible to prove almost any proposition, so hang onto those high expectations!

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    1. Statistics are just a mathematical equation and does not measure the human spirit.

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  14. Hi again - I just wanted you to know that I didn't delete my previous blog post because of your comment. I temporarily reverted it to a draft, because I honestly thought I was posting too many long, boring things about myself. I didn't want to overwhelm everyone with too much of ME.

    I will repost that entry in a few days.

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    1. I always find your posts both interesting and well written, Jon.

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  15. I basically believe in goals rather than expectations. This way I blame myself if I did not reach them or even fulfill them.

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    1. We are always hardest on ourselves, Munir. At this point of life, I am trying to to kinder to the person I am.

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  16. I get so sick and tired of the "experts" telling me how I should think, act and react! I'll do it my way...because they, the "experts" will change their mind next week! ;)

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    1. Another expert will come along and dispute these findings and then another expert will come along......

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  17. Anticipation of joy is not the same as high expectations. Whenever I find myself getting too ambitious about some achievement or other which is probably beyond me, I slap myself down.

    Also, I have no great expectation that there will be peace in the world. For instance. Ever. I have yet to be disappointed. (Yes. I know, that’s being cynical - but realistic).

    All the same, let’s stay happy whatever the experts say. Experts Huh!

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    1. The anticipation of joy lasts longer than the expectation usually.

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  18. My Dad advised me, "If you never give up, you never lose." I can point to several things over my lifetime that prove that saying. Things may turn out the way you want them after you walk away, too. Life is strange. There is happiness to be found in even the bleakest of times.

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    1. Your dad was a wise man, Laura. I have always tried to never give up and only quit when there is no alternative.

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  19. Expectations, low or high, have to move upward. Else, we'd all still be serfs in the Medieval age.

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    1. There are still serfs around who probable have listened to the experts.

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  20. You know what that PHD stands for, dontcha? (At least, according to my husband...) It stands for "piled higher and deeper." The so-called experts may know more than I do about a lot of things, (maybe most things) but based on that chart nonsense, they don't know as much as they think they do about what constitutes happiness. Hopes, dreams and determination are as important to a meaningful life as love and friendship. "May I never be so blind that all I see is my own small world, nor so self-satisfied that all I am is all I ever hope to be." (Someone told me that little prayer years ago, but I can't remember its source. It's right up there with "High Hopes" and "The Little Engine That Could," though, isn't it?)

    On this topic, I think you're a heckuva lot wiser than the "experts." (IAnd if you think about it, if they hadn't set THEIR bars high, they wouldn't even have those PHDs...)

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    1. I love that prayer, Susan.

      Most successful people will tell you that getting there was the more than half the fun.

      I love The a Little Engine That Could and also Horton The Elephant.

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  21. Your insights and ideas are way better than that million-dollar study group. You deserve a million! Have a lovely weekend! :)

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  22. Dear Arleen, like you, I live with great expectations and when they don't prove true or fail to materialize I simply make some kind of funny story out of the whole thing and laugh it off. Of course, I can't laugh off what's happening in Ferguson, Missouri, or the racism that's seen there, or what's happening in the MIddle East, and yet I continue to believe that peace is possible and that treating everyone as a respected sister/brother is possible. Those expectations give me one more reason to get up everyday.

    Your paraphrase: "the journey teaches you more than the destination" is so true. I've learning so much from my journey thus far and the days ahead hold even more for me. Or so I believe . . . and expect. Peace.

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  23. I'm adding another comment since I've been pondering on your post. Anticipation of joy is such a nice phrase. I had the kind of childhood where joy was not allowed. Optimism, however, kept me going. I really didn't experience joy until my children were born. Now I treasure it.

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  24. The PHD's are a bit stuffy it seems.
    I enjoy my expectations :)

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  25. I have always said as much: Lower Your Expectations.

    That said, of course, I am always hoping for the best. :-)

    Pearl

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  26. Learning to find humor and laughter is even the bad things of life is the best coping method ever.

    Sorry, I have been out of the loop for a time!

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  27. I have been thinking about my life as an immigrant recently and reading this post I can't but wonder where I would have been, what I would have missed, how much less I would have grown, had I not had great expectations of happiness coming my way across the big Atlantic Ocean.

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