ANNO DOMINI (THE BEGINING AND THE END)
We have come a long way in these Volumes on “Human Happiness.” We began, in Volume I, with a philosophical discussion of happiness as being “the most important thing in life.” Then we began an indepth analysis of nature of human happiness as we explored the definition of happiness, the history of happiness research, the feelings involved in happy moods, the objective and situational factors which are associated with happiness, and the personality characteristics that have been found to be typical of happy persons. We concluded Volume I with an analysis of happiness and how it relates to some of the most fundamental tenets of basic psychologial theory.
In this Volume we began to see if anything could be done about happiness. In our assessment of the hapiness data we found both “Good News” and “Bad News” imbedded in the research. The “Bad News” was that many of the factors which contribute to happiness (high income, good health, occupational status, etc.) are not easily achievable for most of us. But the “Good News” was that a number of factors which contribute to happiness are, according to the research, are available to us all! My staff and I have studied these special factors over the years, and named them “the Fourteen Fundamentals.” In the present Chapter we have briefly outlined each of these Fundamentals, and provided an overview of how we have used them in our own happiness-increasing experiments.
In the Chapters which follow, we will examine each of these “Fundamentals” one by one. There you will learn the simple, everyday “secrets” the happiest people employ which make them happy.
Ultimately, your eventual happiness may be somewhat tied to long-term factors like financial and social success. There is little doubt that the “Bad News” factors contribute to happiness, and my wish for each of you readers is that all these “good things” come your way. But the wonderful indication from our research appears to be that none of these “good things” are absolutely essential for greater happiness. Indeed, as we shall see, many extremely happy people lack many of these “Good News” perc-requisites, and still are happy persons.
No, there is enough information contained in the Fourteen Fundamentals to counterbalance an indivudual’s lacks in social or finiancial success. In fact, many if the individuals we have studied have — using the Fudamentals — been able to actually rival (and in some cases even surpase) the happiness-levels of the “happy people” we have chosen as a comparison.
Now it is time to go forward, as we explore the Fourteen Fundamentals one by one. As we’ve said above, not every Fudamental is neccessary for eveybody, nor is every Fundamental “right” for eveyone, and some of the Fundamentals may not be achievable for every person. But, overall, the more of these happiness traits you choose to develop, the happier you will be…
After all, there’s nothing magic about happiness. The research shows it to be a simple proposition:
If you can be like happy people, you can be happy too!