Friday, September 13, 2013

Four Key Components To Happiness

In the country song, Letter To Me by Brad Paisley, the author writes to himself as a teenager offering his young self advice. One wishes such a thing were possible. So what would be the next best thing?

In 2011 David Brooks of the New York Times published “The Life Reports.” In these reports readers over seventy years of age evaluated their lives. As summarized by Readers Digest there were key themes cited by “his happiest respondents.” These four key themes are; resilience, commitment to family, predilection to risk and realization that life gets better decade by decade. Readers Digest notes that, “by their 60s many contributors had found their zone.”

For me these are byproducts of faith in Christ. Yet we all know people of faith that mirror none of these traits. So it must be something else. These key components of happiness are not easily distilled. We can define resilience as bouncing back when you are knocked down. How does one come by that trait? A sense of humor plays a part as do tenacity---and some aspect of hope.

How is predilection to risk a good thing? Seems rebellious and counter-culture at best. Is that the type of person we should be? It seems the message these seventy-somethings are giving to us is to live a life without asking, “What if?” Right? I’m guessing that the more you are willing to risk (which is a huge range from asking that cute girl out to climbing Everest) the less regrets you will have when you are older.

These are some deep waters. Brooks spent significant time in his blog exploring these numerous responses. The challenge to us lies in pursuing these keys to happiness. The pursuit will look different for each one of us. Pursue we must for we can not forego such deep time-forged wisdom. We’ve got to risk it—It is after all one of the keys to happiness.

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