FOCUS: Be Happy

Mental Models, Personal Mastery, Systems Thinking

Very little is needed to make a happy life;
it is all within yourself in your way of thinking
Marcus Aurelius


Most people want to be happier, and they have ideas about what would make them happier: a new job, a love partner, more money, moving. The sadness is that most of what we yearn for, thinking it will make us happy, doesn’t make us happy after all. Or the happiness is short lived. Then we come up with the next yearning.

Some years ago the remote South Pacific island of Vanuatu was found to be home to the happiest people on the planet. They are a very poor people. What makes them so happy? I don’t really know, but here are my observations about happiness. My guess is that the people in Vanuatu live these things.

  1. People are happiest when they accept what is. I don’t recommend that you stop working on making things better. But stop the fight inside….the one that wishes things were different.
  2. Finding things to be grateful for every day allows even people with very little to be happy. Gratitude literally opens the heart. (Yearning contracts it.)
  3. Loving is the biggest source of happiness. Notice I didn’t say being loved, (although that’s pretty terrific.) But the act of loving  fills us up! The object of the love can be a person or people, a cause, or even your work. So find a person or a cause to pour your heart into, regardless of what comes back to you. Strive to love well. If you don’t have a person to love close at hand, volunteer somewhere and find someone: A baby in a neonatal unit who needs to be held, a child who needs a big brother or sister or grandparent. Or dedicate yourself to a cause you believe in deeply – the environment, a particular illness, human trafficking, your religion, whatever moves you, and give it all you’ve got.

When clients tell me they want to find a life partner, my advise is to work on these three things. A sad, or desperate person is not attractive. A person who has found ways to be happy in their current life already has love flowing out and is very attractive.

A couple of years ago I had cancer. People have asked me how I got through that time so easily. These three things helped me see that time as an interesting, even blessed, chapter in my life. After the initial shock, I accepted that even though I’d never expected to have cancer, I did. There were a couple of days after each chemotherapy treatment when I felt lousy, so I slept and read books on those days. The rest of the time I went about my life as usual. I lost my hair, so I got cute head coverings and was grateful not to have to wash and care for my hair. I was amazed and grateful for all the support I received. And maybe because cancer is a brush with death, I was able to see and love the people in my life more fully. I paid better attention. And I stayed happy through the whole experience, which probably helped me heal.


For a lasting happiness, try these 3 steps:

1)      Accept what is

2)      Be grateful

3)      Love with all your heart


1)      What are you fighting in your life that you could just accept? When will you do it?

2)      What are you grateful for right now? Try making a list of 5 things you’re grateful for every day.

3)      Who or what do you really care about? How can you love that person or that cause more fully? How can you express that love? If you can’t think of anyone or anything, how can you find someone or something to love? Happiness without this movement of the heart tends not to last.



Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore this notion of being happy more deeply, Tuesday, June 10, at noon Eastern (11:00 a..central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific)  1-218-862-1300 PIN 276583.  No need to register….just call at that time!

Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone. Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

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