The Seventh Step to Happiness
There is, of course, an enormous difference between knowing what one must, or should, do and actually doing it. To know these things is only half the battle, but it IS half the battle. The other half, by far the hardest part, is to have the determination and will power to put them into practice, to the maximum of our abilities.
Although it continues to be an enormous challenge for me, I have found a technique that helps tremendously. When my feet swing to the floor every morning, I not only make The Daily Happiness Decision, I RESOLVE TO PRACTICE THE FIVE “L’s”: Love, Laughter, Labor, Learning and Logic, throughout the day. I also keep the Seven Steps to Happiness posted where I can see them on my desk, near my computer. In other words, I make an effort to keep them in front of my eyes, reminding myself constantly, consciously and subconsciously
* Step One: Be loving
* Step Two: Laugh and make laugh
* Step Three: Pursue productive work
* Step Four: Read and learn as much as possible
* Step Five: Apply reason and common sense to all my decisions
* Step Six: Make the Daily Happiness Decision when I arise every morning.
* Step Seven: Resolve to practice Love, Laughter, Labor, Learning & Logic ALL DAY.
Do I succeed? No, only partially, of course, but by knowing what I must do, and by making my Daily Happiness Decision and by Resolving to Practice the Five “L’s” throughout the day, I make myself a much better, more positive and more desirable person than I could and would otherwise be.
The hardest of The Seven Steps to Happiness is love, of course, because it requires self-sacrifice; it mandates that we put the needs of others ahead of our own. To clarify, I am not suggesting that we need to do business at a loss, because our business will die, or give away so much that we aren’t even self-sufficient, but I am saying that we must take our baby’s thumb out of our mouths, arise from the fetal position, and think in the terms of others. It is an attitude of love, a desire to think of others at least as much as we think of ourselves. This mindset will give us a Loving Karma, and that is what we want to spread.
Self-improvement is not a level that we reach; it is a lifelong process in which we must stay engaged every day for the rest of our lives. By so doing, we can gradually mold ourselves into a person of whom we can properly be proud. So, why not start today? Resolve to take The Seven Steps to Happiness today, and every day, for the rest of your life! Most of us love games. Why not make this into The Happiness Game, your daily challenge. Ben Franklin made lists, charts, of the 13 qualities that he wanted to achieve and he concentrated on one quality a week, but he graded (or recorded) his “offenses” against all qualities on his chart every day. The Seven Steps to Happiness would fit on a One Week Chart. You could grade yourself, Franklin-style, at the end of every day, recording the number of “offenses” that you had against each Step. I’ve attached a sample chart that you might consider. Perhaps you’re not that methodical, and that’s fine, too, but do resolve to “play” The Happiness Game in some form that works for you. You’ll be ever so grateful to yourself, if you do.
I hope that my foregoing comments on Happiness, fifty years in the making, will be of some benefit to you. Like most of us, you will probably never conquer your unhappy thoughts entirely, BUT as long as you keep on trying, and make The Seven Steps of Happiness your private, unspoken game, The Happiness Game, you will mitigate many of your negative thoughts and actions, and you WILL be a much happier and more desirable person. (Just for fun, I attach a suggested Happiness Game Chart to help you keep score on yourself.) In all events, I wish you much “happiness”, today and forever.