A few weeks ago, Shenneth, a MML reader, told me about a book she thought I and other MML people would like called Happy For No Reason, by Marci Shimoff. After glancing at the table of contents on Amazon, I promptly went to Half.com (a great site for cheap used books) and bought a copy for about $3.50. It came in the mail two weeks ago and I’ve been working through the chapters pretty quickly.
Though much of the content is similar to a lot of other intentional books (like my favorite, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People), there are a few gems throughout the text that I’m excited to share here in the THINK ABOUT IT series. The first fresh idea I came across is about how we as a society often try to accumulate happy experiences in order to create a happy life. If we can just get that next bag, apartment, house, puppy, job, smaller jean size, and boy then we will be happy. All of these happy events are like happy beads on our happy necklaces. If we have enough “happy beads” on our necklace than we have a happy life. But Marci points out that if you’ve watched any episodes of True Hollywood Story, this is not always the path to contentment. I’ve also recognized this reality during my desperate attempts to be perfect while in college, just before discovering the importance of making under.
But the brilliant point Marci shares is in the analogy’s conclusion. Rather than worrying about each new bead or event that comes onto our necklaces, we should focus on making the thread that is holding those beads, stronger. If we have a happy thread, then the good or bad events that come onto our necklaces have less of an impact on our overall sense of well-being. Sure, things can happen that can devastate, or delight us for a moment. But the longevity of our happiness is dependent ultimately on our threads, not our beads.
Though the message is essentially the same as Stephen Covey’s proactivity, I love the visual nature of the thread and beads. Jewelry designer or not, I can picture it in my head. And whenever I’m tempted to think a bunch of thoughts like,
- I will be really unhappy if the re-branding doesn’t go well.
- I’ll be so happy when I get a puppy.
- I’m so bloated, I feel like I could float without treading water.
I ask myself, do I want to be dependent on events to be happy or sad at the end of my life? Hell no! I want to be a happy old woman who found a deep sense of peace regardless of what her life was like.
And that’s when I realize that I better start strengthening my thread today.