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The ROAD TO

HAPPINESS ≈ Simple Secrets to a Happy Life ≈ MAC ANDERSON

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AND

BJ GALLAGHER

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Copyright © 2010 by BJ Gallagher Cover and internal design © 2013 by Sourcebooks, Inc. Sourcebooks, the colophon, and Simple Truths are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means— except for brief quotations in printed reviews—without the prior written permission of the publisher. Cover and internal design by: Vieceli Design Company, West Dundee, Illinois Photo Credits: Images courtesy iStockphoto.com and Thinkstock. Published by Simple Truths, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. P.O. Box 4410, Naperville, Illinois 60567-4410 (630) 961-3900 Fax: (630) 961-2168 www.sourcebooks.com

Printed and bound in China. FCP 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

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TA BLE OF CON T E N TS Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

12. Self-Acceptance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

Happiness is …

13. Making Peace with the Past. . . . . . . 80

1. An Attitude of Gratitude . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

 14. Accepting Others Just as They Are … and Just as They Aren’t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86

2. Enjoying Simple Pleasures . . . . . . . . 16 3. An Inside Job. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24  4. Knowing that the Best Things in Life Aren’t Things . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

15. Keeping Expectations to a Minimum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

5. Time Spent with Loved Ones . . . 32

16. Not Taking Things Personally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100

 6. Serving Others and Contrib­uting to the World. . . . . . . . 40

 17. Freedom from Concern about What Others Think of You . . . . . 106

 7. Surrounding Yourself with Positive, Happy People . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

 18. Forgiving and Moving On with Your Life. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114

 8. Finding Humor in Everyday Situations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

19. A Choice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118

9. Setting Yourself Up for Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54  10. Focusing on What You Can Do, Not What You Can’t Do . . . . 60 11. Freedom from Perfectionism. . . . . 66

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20. Sharing and Giving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 21. A Spiritual Connection to the World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132 Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136 The Happiness Creed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138

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It’s good to be JUST PLAIN HAPPY HAPPY. It’s a little better to know that you’re happy; but to understand that you’re happy and to know why and how and still be happy— BE HAPPY IN THE BEING AND THE KNOWING—well, that is beyond happiness, that is bliss. ≈ Henry Miller, writer ≈

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INTRODUCTION

W

hen I travel on business, I like to talk to the taxi drivers who take me from the airport to my hotel, or to a convention center, or to a restaurant . Taxi drivers are often immigrants with interesting personal histories and unusual cultural backgrounds . I ask them how long they’ve been in America, how they chose which city to live in, and what they like best about where they live . Of course, I also ask them for advice on good local restaurants and any special attractions they’d recommend to a visitor . I’ve had some great experiences on my travels, thanks to the advice of taxi drivers! On one trip about ten years ago, I was making conversation with the taxi driver, asking him my usual questions about how he came to live where he lived . Then I asked him a hypothetical question: “If you could live anywhere in the world—and if money was no object—where would you live?” Without hesitating for even a second, he replied, “I live in my heart . So it really doesn’t matter where my body lives . If I am happy inside, then I live in Paradise, no matter where my residence is .” I felt humbled and a little foolish for my question . Of course he was right— happiness is an inside job . He had reminded me of something I already knew,

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but had forgotten. If you can’t find happiness inside yourself, you’ll never find it in the outside world, no matter where you move. Wherever you go, there you are. You take yourself with you. I am grateful for the wisdom of that taxi driver. And I’m grateful for all the wisdom others have shared with me about how to be happy. I asked my good friend BJ Gallagher to join me in gathering some of our favorite bits of wisdom and advice to share with you in this slender volume. We hope the stories, poems, anecdotes, and quotes will enrich your life as much as they have ours.

MAC ANDERSON

Founder, Simple Truths

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1 HA PPINE S S IS …

An attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. ≈ Oprah Winfrey, media entrepreneur ≈

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THANKFUL b y NANCI E J . CA R M O DY

A thankful spirit is a healthy spirit. As the twists and turns of life lead to feelings of being out of control, sometimes our attitude is all that we have control over . ‌ the following reflection may help you develop a thankful attitude . Sometimes life is all about how we look at it! I am thankful for . . . 8 the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends. 8 the taxes I pay because it means that I am employed. 8 a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home. 8 my shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine. 8 the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking. 9

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8 all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech. 8 my huge heating bill because it means I am warm. 8 the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear. 8 the alarm that goes off early in the morning hours because it means that I am alive. 8 the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby. 8 weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive. (This reflection first appeared in the newsletter of First Presbyterian Church in Lyons, New York. It was reprinted in Family Circle magazine in 1999.)

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. Frederick Koenig, German inventor 10

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GRATITUDE

unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. ≈ Melody Beattie, therapist, author ≈

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T WEATHER REPORT by BJ Gallagher

“Any day I’m vertical is a good day”… that’s what I always say . And I give thanks for my health .

If you ask me, “How are you?” I’ll answer, “GREAT!”

because in saying so, I make it so . And I give thanks I can choose my attitude .

When Life gives me dark clouds and rain, I appreciate the moisture which brings a soft curl to my hair . When Life gives me sunshine, I gratefully turn my face up to feel its warmth on my cheeks .

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When Life brings fog, I hug my sweater around me and give thanks for the cool shroud of mystery that makes the familiar seem different and intriguing . When Life brings snow, I dash outside to catch the first flakes on my tongue, relishing the icy miracle that is a snowflake .

Life’s events and experiences are like the weather – they come and go, no matter what my preference .

So, what the heck?! I might as well decide to enjoy them . For indeed, there IS a time for every purpose under Heaven . Each season brings its own unique blessings . And I give thanks .

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When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present … we experience heaven on earth. ≈ Sarah Ban Breathnach, author ≈

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2 HA PPINE S S IS …

Enjoying simple pleasures. All that is required to feel that here and now is happiness, is a simple, frugal heart. ≈ Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek novelist ≈

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Savor

the

Moment

b y M AC A NDER SO N

I once heard someone say, “We don’t remember days; we remember moments.” However, at today’s hectic pace we often forget to savor small pleasures while we make big plans. In the race to be better or best, we sometimes lose sight of just being . And just being, just soaking in and savoring a beautiful moment, can provide some of life’s greatest pleasures . A crackling fire on a cold winter night, a good book, a love letter from your sweetheart, a spectacular sunset, a great meal, or a timeless moment with your child or a good friend . . . these moments, if we stop long enough to enjoy, are the essence of a happy and fulfilled life . I love to fish, especially for large-mouth bass . About three years ago, I was watching television late one night and got this crazy notion to go fishing in the lake behind my house . Of course, my wife thought I was nuts . It was almost midnight! I convinced her I was sane and took off . I walked out to a warm summer breeze and looked up at the starry sky and breathtaking full moon . 17

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I allowed my senses to soak in every second—the sweet smell of honeysuckle, the sound of every cricket, the moon’s reflection dancing off the water—it was a perfect night. After walking across a small field, I took out a flashlight and selected a lure. On my first cast, I reeled in a bass weighing over five pounds, one of the largest I had ever caught. I gently released it back into the water and continued my midnight adventure. During the next two hours, I caught seventeen bass, all between two and five pounds. Although I’ve fished for almost fifty years, no fishing memory can top that warm summer night. But that night provided far more than a fishing memory. It was a life memory. It provided me a snapshot of what life could be like if I just slowed down enough to savor the moments. On my way back to the house, as I walked through the tall grass, I took one last look at the sky and stopped to say

“Thank you,

God, for giving me this night.”

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Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. ≈ Robert Brault ≈

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SATISFYING SIMPLE PLEASURES b y M ARC HACK

Life is filled with simple pleasures, the little satisfying (things) you (don’t) anticipate, but always take great pleasure in: 1 Sleeping In on a Rainy Day 2 Finding Money You Didn’t Know You Had 3 Making Brief Eye Contact with Someone You’re Attracted To 4 Skinny Dipping 5 Receiving a Real Letter or Package via Snail Mail

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6 Making the Yellow Light 7 Telling a Funny or Interesting True Story 8 Seeing a Friend Stumble Over Himself 9 Hearing the Right Song at the Right Moment 10 The First Sip of a Beverage When You’re Thirsty 11 Catching a Smile from Someone You’ve Admired from a Distance 12 Saying the Same Thing Simultaneously with Another Person 13 The Pull-Through Parking Spot 14 Realizing You Have More Time to Sleep 15 People Watching 16 Putting On Clothes Straight from the Dryer 17 A Pleasing, Familiar Smell 18 The Feeling You Get When Your Idea Works 19 Fresh, Clean Bed Sheets 20 A Beautiful View

(continued)

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21 Reminiscing About Old Times with Your Closest Friends 22 Receiving an Unexpected Compliment 23 Having a Good Laugh 24 Feeling Tired, But Good, After a Healthy Workout 25 The Celebration in the Instant Something Makes Sense 26 Relaxing Outdoors on a Sunny Day 27 Holding Hands with Someone You Love 28 Playing in the Water 29 Making Someone Smile or Laugh 30 Finishing What You Started A comprehensive list of life’s simple pleasures would be quite extensive . My list represents those which are most satisfying to a sample of people in and around my life . With a few … exceptions, I believe these simple pleasures hold universal appeal . ~ Source: marcandangel.com

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You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need. ≈ Vernon Howard, spiritual teacher, author ≈

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Weho pet ha ty o ue nj o y e d r e a di ngt hi sf r e eo nl i nepr e v i e w. Y o uc a npur c ha s et he c o mpl e t eb o o ka ta nyt i me b yv i s i t i ngusa t : www. s i mpl e t r ut hs . c o m


Simple Truths: The Road to Happiness  

If you can’t find happiness inside yourself, you’ll never find it in the outside world, no matter where you move. Wherever you go, there you...

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