The Key to Happiness

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, text, outdoor, nature and waterFor the past week or so I’ve struggled to find something to write about.
My reticence came from not wanting to cause undue stress, anxiety, or any other negative emotion to people who read what I write.

Maybe I’ve read too many headlines (breaking my own social distancing from the news rule) but I had the distinct feeling that we are back to an us vs. them society.

But then I remembered. I was giving my self way too much credit.

A while back I took a course from UC Berkley entitled the Science of Happiness. Great course and free. I highly recommend it if you are a data person and like to know the science behind things and not so much the woo-woo.

In that course, I learned that 50% of our happiness is based on our genetics or biological makeup. That percentage can move up or down throughout our lives based on how we handle outside stressors in the long term.

Ten percent of our happiness is based on events beyond our control. You know. Like a once in a century pandemic and the events that happen because of it.

Being the math genius I am, that leaves 40% that is all ours, completely and utterly within our control.

Long story longer, I was giving myself way too much credit.

Folks, I am a 10% event.

What happens around and outside of you does not dictate your happiness. How you process those outside events absolutely does.

People not behaving the way you think they should? Ten percent. Government officials and bureaucracy dropping the ball? Ten percent. Stores opening? Ten percent. Stores staying closed? Ten percent.

At the end of the day, we only have control over ourselves. And while it would be nice to bend others to our will, it’s not gonna happen and you have to be okay with that.

I have struggled with this. Trying to navigate unemployment. Seeing my students not participating in online learning opportunities that could help them when we get back in the fall and keep them occupied in a healthy way while they are at home. Worrying about their safety. Concern for family and friends’ health.

The truth is, I have no control over any of it. Only my reaction to it. The key to happiness, it turns out lies within. And I’m not going to give that key to someone else because I know what good it can unlock.

So friends, while I would like to think you hang on my every word, I can only have a 10% impact on your happiness. Ninety percent lies in you. You have the key. I know you will unlock the right door.