How Do You Define Happiness?
I ran a contest in "Your Daily Dose of Happiness" to see how people define happiness. I was stunned to discover that I am the only person who defines happiness as an extra helping of cheesecake.
There were other shockers, too.
We know that money can't buy happiness ... except, of course, when we are flat broke. But I figured several people would define happiness, at least in part, as a bulging bank vault or "financial freedom". Just three people cited money in their definitions of happiness.
I also figured many people would cite health as part of their definition of happiness, as in "health, wealth, and happiness". But only four people mentioned health.
No health? No wealth? How do people define happiness?
The top rated mention goes to family. It seems that we might be flat broke and deathly ill, but a loving family will make us happy just the same.
Altruism and kindness are also key. It seems we smile by making others smile. Isn't that nice? No health and no wealth. Just smile.
Faith scores big, too. This works out very well, because we can ask our loving family to pray for a speedy recovery and a big win in El Gordo next month (assuming we recover first).
What does this mean? It means the sp@mmers have it all wrong. They keep sending us useless emails about making money.
A typical sp@m message says, "Get the insider secrets to making millions on the Internet. I will give you these valuable secrets for peanuts just because I love your smile so much. You could make $5,433 in the next hour if you act now. Hurry. Don't wait. This is the real thing. You can trust me. All the others are just scammers."
Instead, sp@mmers should be sending offers like, "Get the insider secret to building a loving family on the Internet. I will give you these valuable secrets for peanuts (and a big virtual hug) just because I love your smile so much. You could love your kids, spouses, uncles, parents, pets - anybody! - in the next hour if you act now. Hurry. Don't wait. This is the real thing. You can trust me. All the others are just family planners."
Sp@mmers also waste emails on replacing body parts we never had and enhancing body parts we could never have, when what we really want is to know God better.
Here is a typical sp@mmer email: "Hair loss? We just released the miracle cure. Grow your hair back thicker than a wooly mammoth preparing for the next ice age. This is worth a gazillion dollars, but you get it free for just pennies a day. Give me your credit card number before midnight tonight. I can't afford to offer this price for long. Beware phony products that drip funny colors in your face or make hair grow in all the wrong places. This is the real thing!"
Instead, sp@mmers should be saying: "Faithless? Book your luncheon with the Pope, dinner with the Dalai Lama and a one-on-one chat with Moses. Reserve your seat free for just a handful of pennies. Give me your credit card number before midnight tonight. Act now. I can't afford to offer this price for long. Beware phony reservations for meetings with Michael Jackson and other fake gods. This is the real thing!"
By the way, Mother Nature was also a part of many definitions of happiness. So take your family down by the river for a prayer. And if you can lend a helping hand to a chipmunk or a duck, you'll be the perfect definition of happiness.
The author is David Leonhardt, The Happy Guy, publisher of Your Daily Dose of Happiness and The Happy Guy syndicated column.
Visit his web site at www.TheHappyGuy.com.