Friday, October 3, 2008

Fun and Happiness

Before I begin discussing my thoughts on fun and happiness I should probably follow up on my last post (Sunday, August 31, 2008).

Hurricane Gustav has come and gone…but certainly will be remembered. My business was without electricity for 5 days and my home was out for 9. A real bummer. We had a tree on our house which caused some significant roof issues and damage to a vehicle caused by another downed tree. Another bummer. But my family is all OK and we are back up and running…harder than ever. Repairs are underway to the property. I have to remember it is just stuff…the real value is in relationships. 9 days without power, however, tested the strength of those relationships. We survived!

We didn’t have much fun for those 9 days..but, for the most part, we were happy. (I’ll get to the significance of that later.) We knew the uncomfortable times would end and we would get back to our routines…at some point. We’re back!

So on with the new post.

I had the opportunity to speak to a group of high school juniors last week. That was fun! When the class sponsor asked me to speak, I said yes before I even thought about what I would say and if it would mean anything to the students. I began wondering why he asked me to speak…so I asked him…why? He even had to think about it for a second (I am not a past great athlete, not a wealthy businessman, and not a government employee or public servant) and finally he said, “You seem like a happy guy.”

So there you have it, I am a happy guy.

I began turning this over in my head for a while and just thinking about what makes people (and me) happy. The following is some of what I discussed with the kids:

Is there a difference between fun and happiness? I think we all like to have fun but isn’t our ultimate goal happiness? You see fun is an event... and happiness is an attitude…contentment. I think we sometimes get the 2 confused. It is really easy to do.

Take ice cream for instance…eating ice cream can be fun…for me it is really fun! But saying no to ice cream (most of the time) can lead to happiness. Too much ice cream could lead to a lot of things I do not need more of…like weight and cholesterol! So saying no…most of the time…makes me happy. This is paradoxical thinking at its best. (Most of the kids even knew what paradox meant…I was impressed.) You see, my body retains ice cream! So I have to make a very difficult choice.

Choices lead us to a better or worse circumstance. My choice is to weigh over 200 pounds….I say this is my choice because I have never accidentally eaten anything! Choices lead to results…either good or bad results. I choose to eat too much so therefore I must choose to weigh too much. But the choice is mine.

Where we end up, no matter what our past was like or where we happen to be right now, is dependent on the choices we make and actions we take today.

I wonder what’s for dinner?

Just kidding….my diet starts today….again!

I hope I made a connection with the kids and that they will consider their future happiness and choices.

Maybe they will and maybe they won’t….the choice is theirs.