Finding Happy

“The road to happiness lies in two simple principles: find what it is that interests you and that you can do well, and when you find it, put your whole soul into it — every bit of energy and ambition and natural ability you have.”  – John D. Rockefeller III

Happiness is defined differently by dissimilar people. Ask a dozen people what happiness is, and you’ll get 2 dozen opinions about it.

Are you happy? Sure, we can always be happy, right? That is, after all, the way the world works, no?

NO!

Well. Why not? Isn’t happiness guaranteed to all Americans by our Constitution? Actually, no it isn’t. Only the pursuit of happiness is mentioned, and that’s an iffy premise, if you ask me. Just the mention of attempting to try to endeavor to venture to scheme to attain happiness is a very hollow and sketchy promise, if you really think about it.

Everyone can pursue happiness, no matter their station in life, but it doesn’t mean they are given a promise to attain it. Sort of like a dog chasing a car. Any dog can chase a car, but can he catch it? And what would a dog do with a car if he could catch it?

“Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response.”  – Mildred Barthel

Pursuing happiness on the outside may be a bit like taking a bath and expecting your heart to come clean. As in all things, happiness, or the definition thereof, depends on your point of view. So what truly is happiness? And why is it important?

The above quote makes it look like happiness can be willed by a person, summoned from within, no matter the outer circumstances. That we choose to be happy, and in due time it will be so. And further, that happiness is not a response to the situations we find ourselves in, to the circumstances of our lives. It seems to be saying, conversely, that those people who may have much in life will not necessarily be happy because of the things they have.

Do not all of us know such people? Surely we all have at least one such person living in our building. A person who was raised in the lap of luxury, who went to all the best schools, has a great job, quite possibly a perfect spouse and family (if there can be such a thing), and takes long vacations in exotic locales. Just one thing wrong: they’re always complaining, never happy. Dour, stern, grim, sour individuals who don’t seem to have a bit of understanding of how life works.

“Happiness is good health and a bad memory.”  – Ingrid Bergman

Why is it that we humans go through life seeking happiness, and expecting it to be ours to possess and enjoy? Is it simply that we are reminded of our happiness, or lack thereof, when we hear the words “… pursuit of happiness…” as part of our Constitution? Are we so full of ourselves that we think our country, or our society or culture – or even the family we grew up in – owes us happiness?

“Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.” – Robertson Davies

And by the way, how do these questions apply to property management?

Exactly. Sometimes I find myself thinking, if only that awful person in 6A were gone, I could be really content and happy in this job.  This person is such a tyrant, such a needy jerk, such a bombastic ass, or such a baby, and if only I could be rid of her or him, I would be happy.

Or, if I made just $20,000 more per year, or have more time to vacation (or could just AFFORD a vacation), I’d be happy.

Of course deep down I know it isn’t true. It really isn’t how people treat me that make me happy or unhappy. I know that it’s my reaction to how people treat me, that my happiness comes from inside me, not from another person’s love or admiration or respect or thanks, and that a lack thereof means I’m a bad person in dire straits. In other words, it isn’t them – it’s me.

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

And it isn’t how much money I make, really, that means I can be happy – or unhappy, or what kind of benefits I enjoy or where I get to vacation. Or the car I might drive.

Do you enjoy your work? Like what you’re doing? Feel reasonably good about your level of expertise in your chosen field? Then you’re quite probably well on your way to being as happy as you can be.

Wow, really? You’re thinking, is that all there is?

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Well, what more do you want out of your work? Is there any truly good feeling better than feeling good about yourself? Of doing a job well, and having a sense of accomplishment and well-being to match? I for one relish the sense of finishing a job and having it end well.

Sometimes that’s all there is, and sometimes that must be enough.

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