“Happiness is a how, not a what.” - Hermann Hesse

I’ve seen this quote i used as this blog title before and just again recently. It caused me to stop and reflect. The subtitle of my first book, back From Heaven’s Front Porch is, 5 Principles for a Happy & Fulfilling Life. At one point in my life I was desperate to figure out how to get back to happiness and fulfillment. I had no other viable option as I was at the desolate human condition called “rock bottom.” Chapter 2 is actually titled Rock Bottom is a Hell of a Place.

Most of us are not existing at rock bottom, that state of mind and being where hope is long gone and the thought of vision never crosses one’s mind. But (there’s that but), I do talk with many people who tell me they’re not as happy as they could—or should be. Yes, been there myself. actually, “I wish I had let myself be happier” is Regret 5 in the wonderful book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, by Bronnie Ware. I wish I had a dollar for every time I ask someone, “How’s it going?” and they respond, “Living the dream.”, and they know I know that they’re not living any dream at all. In most cases when we talk further they don’t even have a dream. I’ve seen research where less than 40% of people interviewed say they are happy. They’re just caught in the viscous cycle of sleep, work, some TV or other trivial activity…then REPEAT.

Perhaps what Hermann Hesse is challenging us to consider in his quote, “Happiness is a how, not a what.”, is we need both. First, we need a “what”, a vision or some goals that we remain conscious of and review on a consistent basis. Then we need to be continually taking actions toward the completion of these…to turning your vision into reality. Be sure to add to this that you “hut…hold useful thoughts about what you’re working on. Its vital to pay attention to how you’re thinking about what you’re thinking about. This is the foundation for happiness. Life’s not perfect, and this is ok. It’s how it’s designed.

So this week, choose happy:

  1. be sure to develop your vision (imagine what needs to be real for you)

  2. be thankful

  3. lead with love and help and support others

  4. take action & begin doing what you know you should be doing

  5. connect with the HIGHER POWER in a way that brings peace and trust