Tag Archives: happiness

Quote of the Day

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“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Diary   

I like Chuck Palahniuk. He’s one of those rare novelists who goes at his writing full force, no holds barred, a total I-don’t-give-a-shit-what-you-think attitude that is neither cavalier nor annoying; he’s simply fabulous because his words hit at every truth with raw, naked, blunt honesty. That’s why, at least in part, I think he’s so revered by his legion of die-hard fans in a way few other authors are.

Although many people will be most familiar with him through his novel Fight Club, which was then turned into a movie that “was a flop at the box office, but achieved cult status on DVD,” Palahniuk has written a lot more since then – and in several different genres.

More than that, however, he’s a big believer in giving back to readers and writers. Per his publisher:

“In 2004, Chuck began submitting essays to ChuckPalahniuk.net on the craft of writing. These were ‘How To’ pieces, straight out of Chuck’s personal bag of tricks, based on the tenants of minimalism he learned from Tom Spanbauer. Every month, a “Homework Assignment” would accompany the lesson, so Workshop members could apply what they had learned. (all 36 of these essays can currently be found on The Cult’s sister-site, LitReactor.com).”

Click on the above links if you want to investigate that further, but in the meantime – and to further back up my point that Palahniuk is not only a great storyteller, but can turn out one-liners with the best of them – check out these other gems from Diary alone:

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”

“Just for the record, the weather today is calm and sunny, but the air is full of bullshit.”

“All the effort in the world won’t matter if you’re not inspired.”

“Just for the record, the weather today is bitter with occasional fits of jealous rage.”

“You’re always haunted by the idea you’re wasting your life.”

“Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It’s all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self portrait. Everything is a diary.”

“Everyone’s in their own personal coma.”

“Just for the record, she still loves you. She wouldn’t bother to torture you if she didn’t.”

“For the record, knowing when people are only pretending to like you isn’t such a great skill to have.”

“You have endless ways you can commit suicide without dying dying.”

“Angel says that rich people don’t like to tolerate much. Money gives you permission to just walk away from everything that isn’t pretty and perfect. You can’t put up with anything less than lovely. You spend your life running, avoiding, escaping.”

“Maybe it’s just a daughter’s job to piss off her mother.”

“You’re doomed at being you.”

“The truth is, wherever you choose to be, it’s the wrong place.”

“Of all the priceless objects left behind, this is what we rescue. These artifacts. Memory cues. Useless souvenirs. Nothing you could auction. The scars left from happiness.”

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The Price of Happiness? About $1.8 million

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This is one of those stories about happiness you don’t hear every day. Mostly because it stems from the mind – and hand – of one Albert Einstein.

Rachel Siegel over at The Washington Post penned an article called “Einstein scribbled his theory of happiness in place of a tip. It just sold for more than $1 million,” and sums up the unlikely story of how a tip morphed into millions, and how one of history’s most influential scientists and thinkers imparted some advice we’d all like to know: the theory not of relativity but of happiness. Per the article:

“In November 1922, Einstein was traveling from Europe to Japan for a lecture series…News of Einstein’s arrival spread quickly through Japan, and thousands of people flocked to catch a glimpse of the Nobel laureate. Impressed but also embarrassed by the publicity, Einstein tried to write down his thoughts and feelings from his secluded room at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

That’s when the messenger arrived with a delivery. He either “refused to accept a tip, in line with local practice, or Einstein had no small change available,” according to the AFP.

Instead, Einstein wrote two short notes and handed them to the messenger. If you are lucky, the notes themselves will someday be worth more than some spare change, Einstein said, according to the seller of the letters, a resident of Hamburg, Germany who is reported to be a relative of the messenger.

Those autographed notes, in which Einstein offered his thoughts on how to live a happy and fulfilling life, sold at a Jerusalem auction house Tuesday…”

What was the advice and how much were these thoughts worth in today’s currency?

1. “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.” ($1.56 million)

2. “When there’s a will, there’s a way.” ($240,000)

And to think, today with the Internet at our fingertips that advice is free!

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Happiness Is in the Details (& Get the Hell Off Facebook)

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Robert Cormack (@rbcormack) has certainly given me a lot to think about early this Monday morning through his piece entitled “Happiness Is Boring: The un-glamorized truth about our cheery, merry, joyful and beatific lives.”

He begins by referring to Shel Silverstein’s poem “The Land of Happy.”

Have you been to the land of happy,
Where everyone’s happy all day,
Where they joke and they sing
Of the happiest things,
And everything’s jolly and gay?
There’s no one unhappy in Happy
There’s laughter and smiles galore.
I have been to The Land of Happy-
What a bore

Mr. Cormack then continues his happiness odyssey by taking aim at Facebook. People post on FB, he claims, to make us envious of their travels and accomplishments and la-dee-da life. We scroll through posts looking for happiness or joy or some sort of ejaculation-like release of endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. Sadly, studies show we only end up sadder after spending time on Facebook. And the longer we’re on it, the further down the rabbit hole of depression we fall. Counterproductive? You bet. Counterintuitive? Duh.

Mr. Cormack references a bunch of heavyweights throughout history, including an interesting story behind the etymology of the word “fleeting,” but there’s one particular line from his piece that I really liked:

Maybe that’s why some people never find joy. Like everything in our universe, it’s more or less a mistake. It’s like love. Love is crazy. Trying to figure it out is like trying to understand roughage. We just know it works.

I suppose the lesson here is that happiness is not the goal, it’s the journey. It’s not in the comparisons to other people’s lives or accomplishments but in the day-to-day struggle we all find ourselves in no matter how fantastic! our perfect situation may seem to others. The truth is that we’re all fighting our way through this jungle called existence, and the only people who enjoy a modicum of what can loosely be referred to as happiness are those who realize that “there” is no better than “here,” and that happiness is not the end goal. It’s in the here and now, the trenches of daily life, and the challenges we face on a minute-to-minute basis.

To quote a man far wiser than myself, I’ll refer to one L. Tolstoy, who once said, “If you want to be happy, be.”

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