The 8 week community Happiness course that I’m running started on Tuesday. During it we watched a video by one of the co-founders of the Action for Happiness movement, Richard Layard. A particular quote that I loved was the following:
“The purpose of our lives should be to try and create as much happiness in the World as we possibly can, and as little misery”.
Now the reason I love this quote is that you can literally apply it to anything. As well as the big picture stuff, I like to use it for the smaller decisions that crop up, such as:
1. Should I have a Gin & Tonic? Applying the ‘will it bring happiness to the World?’ criteria, the answer is clearly a YES!
2. Should I shout at my kids for their latest misdemeanour? NOPE, I guess not.
3. Should I be nice and friendly to the person serving me in a shop? YES
4. Should I be kind to my Husband? Oh gosh, if I have to!
5. Should I complain about the fact that the Hob is still not working & we can’t fit a new one without a major rewiring? NOPE (note, complaining will not fix the problem or bring happiness)
6. Should I dwell on the various frustrating things that are happening in my life right now? NOPE
7. Should the kids and I lie in bed together all morning watching TV cos it’s the holidays? YES
8. Should I phone a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while? YES
As you can see in any moment of the day there is a choice of what to do, say or think that will either make the World happier or bring misery. Both to your own World and the people around you. In general it’s a great quote.
Be warned though, I have come a bit unstuck when considering short vs long term impact. For example, should I eat chocolate? In the immediate short term, yes, it will definitely make me happy. And so will eating more. Longer term though the impact is definitely dubious!
Anyway, if it appeals, try it out as a criteria for a day or more – I’d love to hear how you get on in the comments or via a message. Pls like / share. Sue X