Happiness is:

  • an emotion of joy
  • a feeling of merriment
  • absence of anxiety
  • an attitude
  • a decision
  • encouragement
  • a smile
  • kindness
  • purposeful
  • practiced
  • a learned behavior
  • a choice
  • commitment

If happiness encompasses all these virtues, no wonder happiness is a rare commodity in our world!

A few events and locations in my empirical research on happiness have enlightened me.

My research subjects have been:

  • Basketball players, coaches, and parents in China.
  • Tourists and workers at the Magic Kingdom. Disneyland is a fascinating research laboratory for emotional intelligence research.
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico at the world-class Esperanza (Hope) resort. A place where every person should be extremely happy.
  • My beloved home region where the majestic Spokane River flows through the heart of the city.
  • Air Travel on Alaska Airlines, the best, and Hainan Air to Beijing.

These are my research questions:

  1. What does happiness mean to you?
  2. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is the number of people in your world that are happy?
  3. What do you score yourself on the happy scale?

This is my conclusion. Happiness requires both hard work and hard decision making.

Happiness robbers:

  • Self-Pity
  • Excuses
  • Blame
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Laziness
  • Addictions
  • Anger
  • Resentment
  • Bitterness

If we take a cross-section of 1,000 people who read today’s Word of Hope, 800 will do nothing different, agreeing in principle without taking action. 200 will begin the hard work and difficult decision making required to be happy regardless of circumstances, but will soon discover happiness is hard work.

Most likely only about 20 out of 1,000 will continue to embrace happiness as hard work and continue to make hard decisions 90 days from now, while the other 980 will live just as they are living today. Happiness is what you make it too be!

Crowell’s Game Plan to live happiness:

Make an honest existential self-diagnosis.

Do the hard work. Be brutally honest in naming your happiness robbers.

Practice happiness daily.

Have a game plan that included writing down 5 daily gratitudes.

Practice laughing… it is easier than you think.

Encourage three people each day.

Refuse to listen to your happiness-robbers. God’s Holy Word is a prime source to find happiness. Search for happiness in God’s word daily.

Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I may not let happiness robbers diminish my love for God, for people, and for living life to my full potential. (Paraphrase of Psalm 119)