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Do you know how to be happy?

April 12, 2011

Action for Happiness.

If you were to click on the above link, you would be treated to a collage of 1950’s-esque bucolic happiness that we have been taught and repeatedly told is the epitome of conformity – educators and politicians, whom cut their literary teeth on the scathing criticism of Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye would view this linked webpage with understandable indignity and indigestion…or would they?

The web-page I am referring to is specifically the 10 keys to happier living as understood by the newly launched campaign Action for Happiness, a British based organization whose goal it is to promote happiness throughout the world.  The 10 keys are summarized in an amazingly apropos acronym only bested by the likes of ROYGBIV, the said acronym? GREAT DREAM, here is what the 10 keys are:

  1. Giving
  2. Relating
  3. Exercising
  4. Appreciating
  5. Trying Out
  6. Direction
  7. Resilience
  8. Emotion
  9. Acceptance
  10. Meaning

Great list, most of those things we should be doing without the need of a website telling us to do them, but I digress.  I like the amorphous “direction” key.  Considering the peeps who launched this site, Lord Richard Layard, Geoff Mulgan and Dr. Anthony Seldon, the epitome of the Nietzschean concept of uber-men, they are sure to be providing us much-needed direction in the future.  The unwashed masses certainly need it, otherwise we will devolve into the corruption and anguish that symbolizes the abyss of people who do not have leaders to tell them how to be happy.

Okay, maybe I am being overly cynical, which I daresay would violate key to happy living number 5.  Perhaps I should try out their 12 step plan.  Step one, take the pledge:

“I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me”

Hmm, a little subjective.  Nevermind, I am being cynical again.  Step two, “Do kind for others”.  Okay, I can dig it, but don’t higher taxes and the burden of government restrict my ability to provide charity?  Oops, spoke to soon, they aren’t talking about charity here, they just want me to smile at people.  Or give up a seat on the bus.  You get the feeling this web-site is geared toward people who are generally rude to everyone they meet and have no concern for the situations of their neighbors – you know, the typical liberal?  Ohh, what am I saying – it’s the conservatives who are the masters of incivility, sorry I forgot.

Step 3, “Create a local action for happiness group”.  Wow, that sounds like a ton of fun!  Bunch of formerly angry ex-hipsters who have found Jesus in the guise of being nicer to each other, just wait till it comes time to elect a leader, then the silk gloves come off!

I ain’t gonna roll through the whole thing, but you can basically see the point of this pointless exercise.  One aspect of the Action for Happiness I have yet to talk about is their strenuous repetition of the following:

The research shows that we need a change of priorities, both at the societal level and as individuals. Happiness and fulfilment come less from material wealth and more from relationships; less from focussing on ourselves and more from helping others; less from external factors outside our control and more from the way in which we choose to react to what happens to us.

If you can read between the lines, basically they are telling you to stop trying to improve your station in life.  We should all be happy with what we got, don’t try too hard to make your life more successful because it will only lead to pain and suffering, and lets face it, the government is so screwed up the chances of your life improving are pretty low.  And that’s the real point of all this Action for Happiness talk.

Is it any wonder that this campaign has come out following the psycho-nutjob progressive cryfest that has been the riots in London over nanny-state budget cuts?  Isn’t Action for Happiness basically saying, “Look, times are gonna get rough, we have screwed up the country so bad there is not a chance in the world the crap ain’t gonna hit the fan.  So, instead of worrying about that mess, let’s focus on smiling to each other and being happy.”  Or….I’m OK, You’re OK.  Or…just give up at the fleeting and illusive concept of success, you are a loser, now sit on the fence and take up the mantle of village idiot like your father did.

Look, I am all for being kind to one’s neighbors.  I say please and thank you, I smile to almost everyone I meet, I hold the door open for women and men because it’s the polite thing to do (oh man, nothing warms the heart when someone accepts your kindness with the smugness of silence).  I don’t need a bunch of effete intellectuals telling me how to be nice to someone, I had parents who taught me that when I was a kid.  I teach it to my kids.  Am I missing something here?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2011 10:53 pm

    Friend, you are not missing anything. Keep on being true to yourself. Your example of holding a door for men and women is a key. I experience others doing this all the time the last couple years. It used to be there was a “distance” that made it uncool to help. Now, people hold the door, even though it may slow them down. Receiving a thank you always helps!

    Keep On Truckin’ ….

    • April 12, 2011 11:12 pm

      Thanks for the kind words my friend. Yeah, that “distance” thing has always been sort of hard to pin down, but I think you are right, it seems to be growing longer.

  2. JustFacts permalink
    April 13, 2011 8:01 am

    Just reading down the list I was reminded of a similar list that I learned many years ago. It goes something like this:

    1. Trustworthy
    2. Loyal
    3. Helpful
    4. Friendly
    5. Courteous
    6. Kind
    7. Obedient
    8. Cheerful
    9. Thrifty
    10. Brave
    11. Clean
    12. Reverent

    This was always preceded by: “A Scout is -”

    Of course, I refer to the Boy Scout Law (Note: the Boy Scouts originated in England, thanks to Robert Baden-Powell). Isn’t it a shame that all youth couldn’t be taught these simple things when they are growing up? Wouldn’t the world be a better place? But no – we had to get all PC and try to change this wonderful organization into something else. So, now we have the Progressives saying we should be doing these same things, as if it were a brilliant revelation. I guess what goes around, comes around. We’ve got to change!!!! Even if it is to something that we had already tried before and discarded as bieng out-of-touch. The important thing is to CHANGE. Maybe that’s the problem with liberalism. They can’t focus on doing the RIGHT thing long enough, because they have this unceasing desire to CHANGE.

    • April 13, 2011 9:25 am

      Excellent post, I never even thought of the Boy Scouts when I was looking at that web site, but you are dead on the money. One could even say the original YMCA could be comparable as well.

      And to progressives, it is a brilliant revelation, that we should be nice to each other, because before now, they didn’t say we should do it. When you lead the world in brilliance, it would be impossible to wrap your head around something as simple as, hmm, “The Ten Commandments”? or specifically, the Golden Rule.

      But in all honesty, I can’t knock the plan too much. I poke fun because it is sad that politicians feel the self-righteous pull to preach to us about being happier, but in all honesty, if it makes some people happier, good for them. It is like my standard answer for organized religion, I don’t believe in it, and in most cases, I disprove of it, but if it makes you a better person, than I have no qualms with your decision to participate.

  3. April 13, 2011 8:20 am

    Ah, being parented by smug self-righteous hypocrites, ain’t it the bomb?

    I would wager a large sum that you and I practice what they preach better than they do.

    • April 13, 2011 9:27 am

      Its hard to judge the happiness of the Brits, they have an unwritten societal decree restricting them from showing outward pleasure.

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