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Monday, February 15, 2010

Develop a Happiness Monitor

There's an old story (whose veracity I kind of doubt) that says that Chinese bankers gave their kids money to play with. The idea was that the kid would become so familiar with the feel of real money that he would be able to spot a counterfeit bill immediately.

Yeah, it sounds fishy. But the idea is a good one.

Learn to tell the real from the fake.

Can you recognize sources of real happiness? Can you tell deep, lasting happiness/joy/bliss from the fleeting experience of temporary, "mere" happiness?

If not, you may need to develop a "happiness monitor."

Here's an example: Most everyone agrees that "Money can't buy happiness." Yet I've never seen anyone upset at a windfall, like an unexpected bonus at work, or winning the lottery.

"Oh, shoot! Extra money! Bummer!"

At some level, we still equate money with happiness, despite all the wisdom to the contrary.

This is just one case where a "happiness monitor" would help us distinguish the real from the fake.

So put your mind and heart into recognizing what really makes you happy, and what sets off a "happiness reflex" based on fleeting externals.

Develop a "happiness monitor." And you'll know when you're happier.

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