Finding happiness is a matter of subtraction not addition, says Jeff Haden who has ghostwritten the books of business leaders. Identify the things that prevent you from being happy, stop doing them and happiness will most likely come to you. And if you’re having trouble identifying those things, he has a few ideas for you. Stop blaming, impressing, clinging, interrupting and whining. Also, stop controlling, criticizing, preaching dwelling and fearing, and then you’ll find happiness. Of course if you’re a preacher by profession, he doesn’t mean that. In Haden’s book, mistakes happen and when you blame others, you should also blame yourself, so you might as well stop blaming. Impressing is a sin all by itself because it sort of says that you are your things – your impressive things. And while people may like your impressive things, that doesn’t mean they like you. Clinging comes from insecurity, interrupting is rude and whining is unproductive. Dwelling and fearing just paralyze you from taking action. So stop all that and you might be happier.
If the idea of eliminating certain behaviors to find happiness doesn’t appeal to you, there’s “The Happiness Project,” a blog, a book and actually a project by Gretchen Rubin, a successful lawyer who gave up a lucrative practice to seek happiness. The idea attracted followers from far and wide, across borders and language barriers. And now, like support groups everywhere, Rubin encourages others to start their own happiness projects. Among the revelations from her book is that contrary to the popular notion, money can actually buy happiness. Well, it can’t actually buy you happiness because there’s isn’t a Happiness Store, but it can buy things that bring you happiness. This could be an iPad or a horse or a goat for a deserving family in Africa. And ultimately, what both these folks are saying is that happiness isn’t so much something that you pursue as it is something you attain from pursuing other things.