Is Being Happy Useful?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the last few weeks. Maybe it’s the time of year – when smiles linger a little longer, movies get more touching and people seem to be more generous – or maybe it is just the sentimental side of me that wants to believe in the idea that the things you put into the world are reflections of how you’d like the world to be, but I’m kind of fascinated by happiness right now. Like, really fascinated by it.

I’ve also just fulfilled a long-held dream of buying my first house, the release of which was like a double shot of adrenal mirth between my toes. I’ve been very focused on reaching that goal for a very long time. Everything I did was somehow related to it and, now that we are (nearly) all moved in and the kids are settled down, I realize that, for the first time in a long time, I can make choices related to something else. I’ve checked off those base levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and can begin thinking about what I’d like to put into the world.

And I’ve decided to do what I can do to put happiness into it.

Happiness is an interesting idea. It’s more complicated than you first think. It’s not just a moment of brief joy. It’s about contentment and purpose, curiosity, accomplishment, satisfaction and a whole lot of other things. And when you look at happiness in this holistic way, you begin to understand just how useful happiness is.

Very useful.

Usefulness and utility are prime concerns for me, but the idea of usefulness being a result of happiness is a new thought. Yet, the more I think about it, the more I realize just how completely impossible it is to be useful without being happy. It’s what distinguishes human utility from, say, a steam shovel.

There’s a lot of thinking I want to do on this idea. A lot more to come. But, in the spirit of the holiday, I thought I would try to share a little happiness from YouTube. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.

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