Fireworks - American FlagDo your homework! Please read the July 8 issue of Time Magazine for countless pearls of wisdom.  No, I’m serious.  I just read the best article in decades on the current state of happiness. It will be well worth your time, and healthy for America.

I’ll be covering different facets of this article, and applying it to relationships among other things. But as this is the week of July Fourth celebrations, I will concentrate on happiness in America. The article begins with the quote, “If you’re an American and you’re not having fun, it just might be your own fault.” In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson boldly wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Rarely is a government founded upon these principles. The true measure of our government is to defend these truths. Yet throughout American history, our founding forefather’s dreams of a land with unparalleled opportunities have been as abundant as the resources available in this rich land. However, dreams are not guarantees. Nor is happiness.

I’d like you to think about some amazing statistics about the world of happiness:

  1. In ravaged Afghanistan, a 2012 survey revealed that three times as many people said that they were happy as said they were unhappy.
  2. Singapore has one of the highest per capita GDP’s in the world, a low unemployment rate, and a superior education system, yet it is home to the world’s least positive-minded population.
  3. Debt-laden Ireland faces a gloomy economic future, yet its population as among the cheeriest on the planet.
  4. Despite a prior economic malaise and brutal winters, the people of Iceland have one of the closest social networks in the world, thus a happy life.
  5. Mexicans boast higher-than-average levels of happiness despite enduring a long-running drug war that has cost thousands of lives every year.
  6. Canadians score significantly higher than Americans in their balance of life, even though they make considerably less money.
  7. Panama reports very high levels of happiness, although almost a third of the population lives below the poverty line.

There are many, many explanations for each of these statistics. I would offer to you that the KEY reason for an individual’s happiness is to remember that happiness is a choice. Regardless of your lot in life, in most cases, it’s how you play the hand that you were dealt.  And as we celebrate Independence Day, remember that you, too, can lead a life independent of negativity within your own mind. Our forefathers laid the framework, but the work depends upon the individual.

America fights fiercely for the right to choice, but often in the pursuit of dreams individuals sometime forget to appreciate what he or she has, and thus feel “unsatisfied.” Happiness is a choice, each and every day.  Let’s promise ourselves to celebrate a truly happy birthday for America. By doing so, we will collectively be only America the great, but also America the grateful.

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