Saturday, August 10, 2013

How We Choose to be Happy

by Rick Foster & Greg Hicks

From Library Journal:
Foster and Hicks conduct workshops internationally in the development of interpersonal skills. For this book, they interviewed happy people from all walks of life, from the United States to Eastern Europe. The resulting personal stories, writing exercises, and quotes together inform and instruct the reader in the nine principles discovered by the authors in their travels. Foster and Hicks use their nine choices to teach leadership development in the corporate world and also as a diagnostic tool for medical doctors. These choices include the active intention to be happy, accountability, identifying needs and desires, and centralizing goals by creating a dream list. These are followed by recasting (looking at experiences in positive ways), exploring options, appreciating every day, the art of giving, and, finally, exploring truthfulness.

Memorable Quotes:

"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms." Muriel Rukeyser

"Those who wish to sing always find a song." Swedish proverb

"Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation?" Jane Austen

"It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere." Agnes Repplier

"Remember that happiness is a way of travel - not a destination." Roy M Goodman

"Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame." Erica Jong

"If you do not ask yourself what it is you know, you will go on listening to others and change will not come because you will not hear your own truth." Saint Bartholomew

Sometimes we're so busy responding to other people's formulas for happiness that we haven't created a formula of our own.

"...I see that happiness is a steady state inside me and that it's always there waiting for me, no matter what is happening in my life." study participant

Fear is a trap. It keeps up stuck in unhappiness. It obscures analysis, keeping negative events clouded by anxiety.

"Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark." Agnes de Mille

Each new day presents the potential for relationships, education, personal growth, professional development and just plain fun.

"Whatever is flexible and loving will tend to grow; whatever is rigid and blocked with wither and die." Lao Tzu

Happy people have unusually acute vision, an ability to see life clearly in all its diversity. They've an awareness of contrast - good and bad, beautiful and ugly, soft and loud, fast and slow... They have a consciousness of form - hard, soft, angular, flat - the daily symphony that plays all around us, the sweet sounds of its music contrasted by the harshness of the jackhammer. And they get perspective from values - right and wrong, weak and strong, righteousness and evil. They embrace loved ones for their greatest strengths and for their most troubled faults.

When we fight against the totality of our lives, we risk missing life altogether.

"Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love." Lao Tzu


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