I was listening to a TED Radio Hour on happiness recently. The host, Guy Raz, asked his guest, musician Pharrell Williams, to reveal the secret to happiness.
Williams was perplexed.
Here is what he said: “I’m not some guy who’s walking around smiling every day. We all have our ups and downs, lefts and rights, and diagonals.”
This, from the man whose song “Happy” is a worldwide hit, and whose four minute video is so contagious it is almost impossible to watch without dancing or singing along.
What Williams seems to be suggesting is brilliant: To think of happiness as the ultimate and ever-lasting goal is missing the point.
Consider the Declaration of Independence. The rights aren’t life, liberty and happiness.
What we get is the pursuit. The pursuit of happiness.
What does this mean? It suggests that happiness is an approach to life. Happiness is a mindset that includes moments of total joy, but is really about responding to ups and downs and diagonals with a commitment to health.
An attitude of happiness combined with the skills of resilience keeps us from being dragged down by everyday stressors.
As I write this post, I am singing Williams’ lyrics in my head:
“Here come bad news talking this and that. Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold back. Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine. No offense to you, don’t waste your time Here’s why. Because I’m happy!
(Luckily, you can’t see me as I dance to the lyrics!)
Parts of this post were adapted from an article by Jan Bruce —thanks Jan