Albert Einstein wrote, “A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?”
Being one who enjoys clutter and chaos while in the throes of creativity, I respect Einstein’s answer very much. The simplicity of his words speaks to me and inspires me to take a moment to reflect. What does a man need to be happy?
There is a tremendous amount of research being done on happiness, attitude, emotional intelligence, and mindfulness. It is amazing what is being discovered about how important our Happiness Factor is in our lives. But what is your Happiness Quotient? What have you done lately to increase your HQ?
We try to define or measure our sense of success using several different factors, but what is it in your life that critically determines your sense of long-term satisfaction and self-fulfillment?
Does being happy require you to take phenomenal risks in order for you to feel alive and active on your pathway to success? Or can living a happy life be more analytical or more structured than this? Can you structure happiness into your life?
Being one who has lived life through radically-different career changes, lifestyles, and academic pursuits, I sometimes find myself at the end of the day wondering where I am going next. What is the new plan? What’s next? What do I want to study now? Which new instrument do I want to learn how to play? Which novel should I work on today? With all of this spontaneity and creativity that governs my days, I sometimes experience a let-down. When I am skipping a beat, doubt can settle in. I hear a certain quote by Lewis Carroll playing a haunting melody in my soul: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
Well, life is not all about career success and job titles and dollar bills and tropical vacations. There are many dimensions in life that play a large role in our personal assessment of success. Our relationships, our spiritual life, our sense of growing and contributing, our personal achievements that we share with others – all play a vital role in our happiness factor.
What makes you happy? What is key in your life that leads to your happiness? I once read a great article on “Happiness Criteria” which steered me away from my modus operandi of spontaneously and serendipitous-ly (and what can sometimes feel to be senselessly) seeking happiness. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of this, the thought of creating a criteria for success and happiness gave me pause and inspired some more concerted thinking and action with a focus on what generates happiness in my life and on what happiness means to me today.
In other words, what am I doing to raise my Happiness Quotient (HQ)?
One thought: make a list of Happiness Criteria that critically determine your HQ.
For example . . .
Some things that popped up for me, in no particular order of priority, are
- A flexible schedule
- Can bring my dog to work
- Time for travel
- Creative expression in my work
- Helping others to grow and to create solutions
- Time to exercise
- Time for loved ones
- Great pay
As you can well imagine, everyone’s list is going to read quite uniquely. I once asked a group of students how many hours they would want to work in their ideal work week. I was simply stunned by the number of students who wrote “40 hours” as their answer. They asked me what my ideal work week was, and I told them “8 – 12 hours.” They laughed and thought I was joking, but . . . I wasn’t. My happiness criteria demands that I have time to volunteer, create, exercise, dance, be with my family and friends, etc. Have I worked 40 hours a week? Yes. Was I happy? Yes. Would I be happier if I worked my 8 – 12 hours? YES!
And how many of your criteria are non-negotiable?
For example, having a flexible schedule is non-negotiable to my happiness, but being able to bring my dog to work is negotiable. If my schedule is flexible enough, there will be enough companionship time at the park and on the trails with my dog.
Click on the aqua-blue link below to download your free journal prompt: Your Happiness Criteria. This prompt has some fun and revealing questions about you and how you choose to be happy and to implement happiness criteria in order to raise your Happiness Quotient (HQ).
What do you think? Has listing your Happiness Criteria helped you to focus on what is important to you? On what makes you feel happy? For some of us, these are not simple questions to answer; still, in my heart, I believe that the answers are vivid and clear. My Higher Self knows what contributes to my happiness. Taking time to think on these things and to let my intuition rule inspires me to grow in new directions. To stay open to coincidence. To appreciate the people in my life who want me to grow. To appreciate the joy in laughter.
For all of this, I feel deep appreciation.