Exploring Human Potential

7 & 7: Happy vs. Unhappy


The truth be told, life is a challenge. Yet on its surface ripples unpredictable currents of happiness intermixed with hopes and dreams. These small visions of the future at first may be simply self-entertaining. But then there comes the spark, the realization that a dream – with work, with help—could actually happen. Worry and fear, if given into, can prevent the transition. If not, the happiness can be found in doses large enough to sustain the dream and move a person toward goodness. An enemy of the good is the better – better than now, better than the other person. For this is a fundamental lack of gratitude for blessings at hand. Happiness must be ridden, used, appreciated as a form of transport, without the driving obsession for what’s next, always what’s next. In its simplicity, some happiness is attainable by nearly everyone, even those whose burden is unimaginable. Out of the quiet, it emerges from within, and from without is reinforced by good fortune from time to time. Happiness is nurtured by action, and degraded by stasis, by being stuck, powerless and risk averse. Happiness can make you soar, but it can not make you strong. The strength must lie in another vein, drawn upon to sustain you in those moments when happiness has vanished, drawn upon to sustain you until happiness returns.


Happiness is the light on the water. The water is cold and dark and deep.
William Maxwell

Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.
George Santayana

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.

The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy – I mean that if you are happy you will be good.
Bertrand Russell

If we only wanted to be happy it would be easy; but we want to be happier than other people, which is always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.
Charles de Montesquieu

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

If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are you’re not going to be happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.
Andy Rooney

True happiness is of a retired nature and an enemy to pomp and noise; it arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one’s self; and, in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few selected companions.
Joseph Addison

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