For Sale: Happiness

If happiness were for sale, how much would you be willing to pay for it? I’m not talking about a pill. Imagine buying a box, and when you open it, you would have instant lifelong happiness. Good deal? Maybe…

Suppose it was really expensive, say $500…maybe $1,000, or even $10,000, would you pay it?

How much you’re willing to pay might be determined by how unhappy you are to begin with. If you’re desperately miserable, you might pay anything for some relief.

What if you took the box of happiness to the checkout register and found out that it was free? All you have to do is practice happiness for 12 hours every day for the next 12 months. That means you would have to constantly practice being happy. Don’t know how? Well, that’s why they call it practice. Just do the best you can. Right?

But wait, there’s an owner’s manual with this box of happiness. It says the following:

The Rules for Practicing Happiness:

  1. Think the kind of thoughts you believe you would think if you were happy.
  2. Do the things you think you would do if you were happy.
  3. Say the kind of things you might say if you were happy.

Practice the above three rules for a minimum of 12 hours per day for the next 12 months. Please observe the following cautions — Failure to observe these cautions will affect your happiness and may void your warranty:

  1. Never raise your voice, this interferes with happiness.
  2. Never allow angry thoughts to cross your mind, this interferes with happiness.
  3. Never allow angry words to cross your lips, this interferes with happiness.

The sad thing is, the box is just sitting there, on the shelf, waiting for someone to take it home. It’s free. All you have to do is follow the rules and practice happiness every day.

I’m just not sure that the people who say they really want to be happier actually mean it. If happiness is worth having, then isn’t it worth practicing? It’s like any other skill, the more you practice it, the better you get at it.

If you want to get good at playing the guitar, piano or any musical instrument, you practice. If you want to be good at sports, you practice. Want to be a math whiz, a marathon runner, a painter, or a public speaker? You’re gonna need to practice. Look how much time people spend practicing the art of worrying. You got pretty good at that one, didn’t you? Or how about all the time people spend on practicing the craft of obsessing over negative things that will likely never happen? I’ll bet that’s a piece of cake now, right? Any good at arguing? Most people have practiced that one to the point of mastery.

The bottom line here is that happiness, like anger, like sadness, like arguing, as well as skills in sports, music, art, etc. takes practice and is a skill that needs to be nurtured and can eventually be mastered. It’s free to everyone, but it takes effort on a daily basis if you want to get better at it.

Look…there’s the last box of happiness. You gonna grab it?


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