Happiness is the ultimate currency
When I started my year-long experiment with happiness, I deliberately didn’t do too much reading about the topic. I didn’t order in dozens of books on happiness (which would only be a small fraction of the books available to be purchased on this topic).
And the reason is I didn’t so much want to learn more about happiness, as I wanted to experience more happiness, more of the time.
And I had a deep sense that too much reading about how to be happy would take me further away from the experience of it. That just like learning to swim, I could read all the books in the world about it, but nothing would be as beneficial as getting in the pool.
That said, I have found a few external sources of information about happiness to be deeply helpful. I have kept these to an absolute minimum, for the reasons given above, and I have made sure that any reading I do about happiness is surrounded by lots and lots of time to experiment, think about, feel about, and play with the concepts enclosed within the books covers.
One book that has made it through the forest of books on this topic is Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar. I have found this book a goldmine of provocative, thoughtful and heartfelt ideas and reflections on happiness.
In chapter 4, Professor Ben-Shahar shares how he believes that happiness is the ultimate currency. On page 53:
“For a human being… the ultimate currency is not money, nor is it any external measure, such as fame, fortune, or power [and I would add, a large closet with a revolving door of more-more-more coming into it]. The ultimate currency for a human being is happiness“
The author goes on to say that we only pursue external things such as fame, fortune, power (and clothing by the shopping cart full) is because we imagine they will bring us happiness. Which they too often don’t.
When you truly understand this concept, so many things change. They must change (and if they don’t, then you aren’t truly getting it). There are so many things that just drop away, that melt into insignificance, that simply become not worth worrying about, when you understand that happiness is the ultimate currency.
And the beautiful thing about it is there isn’t a limited supply of happiness. If I’m wildly happy, it doesn’t mean that you have to be consequently unhappy to allow me my happiness. There’s more than enough happiness for everyone.
I am happiest when (#39)
I’m spending time in a funky café. I love to eat out, especially breakfast and lunch (or brunch!), or even just to have a light morning tea out. For me, this kind of outing gives me a simple pleasure that is often all I need to make my day feel a little special. I love this café, the Kenilworth Bakery, which is in the beautiful Mary Valley. Being 45 minutes away, going there makes it a true outing, but it’s well worth the trip. And a way to give a sense of special to an ordinary day.