New Ideas and Your Stories

Here are some ideas and thoughts on what contributes to genuine happiness.. Please offer your own by sending me your stories or thoughts of how you measure happiness

Happiness is impossible, and even inconceivable, to a mind without scope and without pause, a mind driven by craving, pleasure or fear. To be happy, you must be reasonable, or you must be tamed. You must have taken the measure of your powers, tasted the fruits of your passion, and learned your place in the world and what things in it can really serve you. To be happy, you must be wise.” —-

George Santayana (this quote appears around the inner perimeter of Ondaatje Hall in Massey Hall, University of Toronto)

Income and Happiness

Does earning a higher salary really make a person happier? Not permanently, according to GSE Affiliated Professor and ICREA-IEA Researcher Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell. Her research in happiness economics has shed new light on what determines a person’s happiness, particularly the effects of income changes and other life events on subjective satisfaction. Watch Video

Happiness can be contagious!

A new study has found that being happy can be contagious and rub off on our neighbours. It gives new meaning to the song “the more we get together, the happier we’ll be.”

(read article)

Is 44 the year of depression? The tipping point in happiness?

According to new happiness research, the biggest lows of our lives are experienced in middle age, according to new research that concludes that Britons are at their most depressed aged 44.(read rest of article)

Do you Know your Virtues?

Who amongst us can remember the four virtues that Plato identified:
wisdom, moderation (temperance), justice and courage?

Or the 3 holy virtues: hope, charity and unselfish love.

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin lived his entire life according to 13 virtues he used to assess his life and progress towards genuine happiness.

Franklin’s virtues can be broken down into seven personal virtues and six social virtues.

The seven personal virtues relate to your attitudes toward activities and their challenges. Good personal character traits will better your chances of success in achieving your goals.

Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
Industry: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

Franklin’s six social virtues stated concern your attitudes toward people with whom you have dealings. Good social character traits result in other people wanting to do business with you or to have relationships with you.

Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Ben Franklin tried to lead his life following these virtues. He placed each one of the virtues on a separate page in a small book that he kept with him for most of his life. He would evaluate his performance with regard to each of them on a daily basis. He would also select one of the virtues to focus on for full week.

Imagine you developing a similar set of virtues to guide your life. Imagine the US President, the Canadian Prime Minister or the CEO of Nike using such a list to guide their decisions. The world would certainly be a happier if not wiser place to live and have our being.