Fundamental Ten: Develop an Outgoing, Social Personality
Fundamental Ten brings us back to the strong social theme that permeates the research on happiness. It suggests that you would be a lot happier if you could “Develop an Outgoing, Social Personality.”
We’ve seen in the Volume I how socially active and successful happy people are, indeed the Second Fundamental says “Spend More Time Socializing.” But how can one take advantage of this primary source of happiness if one is shy, inward, or socially uncomfortable? The answer may be found in our upcoming analysis of this Fundmental.
According to the research, happy individuals are remarkably extroverted, outgoing, friendly, and at ease, socially. Because of this, they find their lives filled with many more social opportunities than shyer people do, and thus their life is happier as a result.
Our chapter on Fundamental Ten, then, is a chapter for anyone who might like to become a little more like happy people are: a little more self-assured, a little more comfortable in social settings, a little more outgoing and popular.
Fundamental Eleven: Be Yourself
In my years of teaching as a college professor, the one Fundamental which seems to hold the greatest insight for my young students is Fundamental Eleven: “Be Yourself.” It is based on the research on happy people which finds them to be remarkably candid, spontaneous, expressive, and unaffected; and it is founded on the simple proposition that happiness flows easily and effortlessly when you just let yourself “Be Yourself.”
As we shall see in our discussion of this Fundamental, a major source of unhappiness comes when we suppress our “real,” authentic self. Perhaps it is a misguided attempt to be accepted or “fit in,” perhaps it is the desire to live-up to others’ expectations — but whatever the reason, the fear of being ourself creates more unhappiness than it’s worth.
Fundamental Twelve: Eliminate the Negative
Fundamental Twelve is “Eliminate Negative Feelings and Problems” or “Eliminate the Negative,” for short. It is also known as “the depressing Fundamental,” because the topic is not especially pleasant.
Most of the Fourteen Fundamentals deal with positive characteristics the research has found in happy people. But, as we reviewed in Volume I, happiness is founded not only in the presence of numerous positive circumstances, but in the absence of many negative ones. In other words, not only do happy people have a host of good things going on in their lives, they also appear to have much less of the bad things. Typically, happy people have far fewer personal problems, fears, hostilities, neurotic symptoms, anxieties, past traumas, dysfunctional backgrounds, or similar difficulties, than most average people do. Because of this, Fundamental Twelve is devoted to a recognition of how such negative circumstances thwart many individual’s attempts to work toward happiness. Clearly, for many people, happiness is not simply a matter of doing positive things. Often there are deeper personal difficulties which block their journey.
Our presentation of Fundamental Twelve, then, will deal with this “dark side” of happiness, as we talk more directly about the typical kinds of emotional problems which can stunt ones happiness growth — and what you can do to combat them.