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Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Happiness Project Part 2

I am still in the middle of reading the wonderful Happiness Project and have felt that this book more than any other book of this kind has got me asking really important questions of myself. I said in the last blog post that I was going to read the whole book and then re-read it again slowly. I said this because it is one of those books that I love in which the sections are divided into months with an aim for each. It begins in January and January is all about aiming to get the most energy, then each month has a new aim added to the past months aims. This means that little by little things will change.

The book isn’t about a certain path being followed but shows the writers experience as well as asking lots of questions of the reader. I was reading the book in our back garden last night when I started to think about how my own happiness project would go. What things would I want to work on? What would my aims be? This is from the Happiness Project website and shows you how to get started (I’ve written my own answers next to each of the questions):

“Identify your aims
The First Splendid Truth will help you identify areas to tackle in your Happiness Project.
Ask yourself:
▪ What makes you feel good? What gives you joy, energy, fun?
Going for a walk. Reading. Chatting for hours over delicious food. Making others happy.
▪ What makes you feel bad? What brings you anger, guilt, boredom, dread?
Rudeness, unfairness and cruelty in others. Being unmotivated and lazy makes me cross at myself.
▪ What makes you feel right? What values do you want your life to reflect?
I want to be someone who is fair and helpful. I want to be able to look after children in my life. I want to show that education is important and that working hard is how to get what you want from life.
▪ How can you build an atmosphere of growth—where you learn, explore, build, teach, help?”
This is a much more difficult question and the reason that I am trying to read up a lot on this subject.

The author also made up 8 Splendid Truths and wrote little notes beside them:

1. To be happier, you have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.
2. One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy;
One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
3. The days are long, but the years are short.
4. You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy.
(Many argue the opposite case. John Stuart Mill, for example, wrote, “Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so.” I disagree.)
5. I can build a happy life only on the foundation of my own nature.
6. The only person I can change is myself.
7. Happy people make people happy, but I can’t make someone be happy, and no one else can make me happy.
8. Now is now.
So far all that I know in my own project is that I need to start in the same way. I really want to start generating some energy within myself. I need to do things and eat things that make me more energised so that I can take more on and squeeze as much out of life as I can.

I hope this gives you a little insight into the book or at least gives you some questions you maybe feel you should be able to answer. Now get to the library!

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