International “Contented” Day

International Happiness Contented Day

The word happy seems to be getting a bum rap these days. More impressive words like contentment, fulfillment, mindfulness, intention and meaning have replaced the simpler, and now seemingly silly, happy. There are good, solid and even scientific or spiritual reasons for this. All of the focus on anything but happiness got me thinking. I even checked with a few of my former employees at Disney to see if they too have abandoned the word in the Disneyland slogan. I asked is it now called the “Most Fulfilled Place on Earth” or the “Most Meaningful Place on Earth”. It seems that the good folks at Disneyland still think “Happiest Place on Earth” might be good enough. The 17 plus million guests who visited the Park last year probably agree.

I guess one person’s contentment is another person’s satisfaction.

One study on happiness from the UK tells us that relationships are the single most important element for a long happy life. Another theory says we will never experience true happiness on earth. Instead, we should just take the journey as is and live only in the now. I always wonder about the literal translation of words that express our emotions. I guess I can always resort to creating my own set of alternative facts on happiness.

There are hundreds of books on the subject. Several fine universities have classes and even entire departments focused on happiness, such as the University of California Berkeley and their Great Good Science Center, Harvard University and Yale to mention a few.

Who doesn’t want a daily dose of pure happiness in their lives?

Apparently happy is also good for business. Happier people are healthier and more productive at work too. Of course, I read another study refuting that happy people are more productive. Then I thought, productive or not, I really don’t care to work with the unhappy, angry, bored and apathetic employees. Who does? I have a feeling that the researchers on that study were pretty unhappy at work. It is possible that they are just part of the 70% of American employees who are disengaged at work. Maybe a potent dose of happiness could spawn a new movement in American productivity.

There are thousands of products claiming that you’ll be happy. Just buy that car, take that trip, chew this gum, chug that beer and of course, use this credit card. They work in and around the word happy by luring us into a world focused on lifestyle and image building. What the heck, if that makes you, well, intentional, then go for it!

I know I’ll be receiving notes from people who will be very unhappy with my attempt at levity. They’ll be right of course. But someone has to stick up for the us little people…and Pharrell’s hit song, McDonald’s kids meal, that funny little yellow smiley faced emoji and a pile of holiday salutations like Fulfilled New Year!, Satisfied Thanksgiving!, Meaningful Hanukah!, Hedonic Halloween!, and Eudemonic Kwanza!

As for me, Monday is International Happiness Day and I plan a full day of, you guessed it, happy.